MANILA, Oct 26 (Mabuhay) — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos on Wednesday emphasized the need to hasten the country’s digital transformation to enable his administration to provide “fast, transparent, and efficient” services to the public.

During the National Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Summit 2022, Marcos said the government must take “full advantage” of the new technologies and techniques to provide the Filipino people the “best” services they deserve.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos graces the National Information and Communications Technology Summit 2022 at the Manila Hotel. During his speech, Marcos called on government partners to help build a better and more progressive future for the country’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector and the bureaucracy, as he pledged to realize the vision of a digital Philippines. (MNS photo)

“And if we are to succeed in digitalizing our bureaucracy, our government, and to make the way that we do business, the way that we work, the way that we even communicate with one another, we (have) to make it as efficient, as streamlined, and as affordable as possible so that we can provide that extremely important service,” he said in a speech delivered at the Manila Hotel.

“This summit is therefore correct, is apt, is timely for what we will discuss here will be instrumental not only in improving our global standing but most importantly, securing the Philippines’ place in the future.”

Carrying the theme, “Toward a Citizen-Centric, Inclusive, and Sustainable eGovernance Ecosystem”, this year’s national ICT summit seeks to explore developments in the field of ICT, harness innovations in digitalization, and initiate public-private partnerships (PPPs) in using digital tools and resources to provide better services to Filipinos.

The event will also serve as a venue to help the Marcos administration attain its planned digital transformation in national government agencies and local government units.

Need to catch up

Marcos reiterated his plan to make the government “more adaptive to fast-changing developments,” as he lamented that the Philippines has ranked 89th out of 193 countries in the United Nations E-Government Survey.

The Philippines’ current standing is not “encouraging”, he said, adding that this shows that the country is experiencing a “regression”.

“We are already playing catch up in terms of digitalization to the rest of the world. So it is not as if we have a choice here. We don’t have a choice that maybe we’ll do it, maybe we’ll not,” he said.

“It is simply not the way that the modern world works. We have to digitalize if we are going to keep up all our plans for the transformation of the economy and our continuing redefinition of the Philippines’ place in the community of nations.”

Partnership with the private sector

The President said the country could only keep up if his administration is able to digitalize government services with the help of the private sector.

Public-private partnership, he said, is vital in realizing the government’s bid for e-governance.

He acknowledged that the private sector is the one that “leads the technology.”

“Those partnerships are not a business partnership, but I suppose it is a sharing of technologies, a sharing of knowledge. It is a sharing of the state-of-the-art from the private sector, with the public sector, and that working together that will bring us to success,” he said.

Marcos also cited the need to adopt a “holistic” approach to harnessing various technologies for the country’s digital transformation.

“We have the tools. We have the knowledge. And most importantly, we have the people. All that is left to do is to have the will and the resolve to achieve it. So I reiterate my call to our partners: Let us forge ahead, build a better, brighter, more progressive future for the ICT sector, for the bureaucracy, for the entire Philippines,” he said.

Swift passage of bills

Marcos also assured that his administration would facilitate the immediate passage of the proposed E-Government Act and the proposed E-Governance Act to improve service delivery in the government.

He noted that during the recent Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council meeting, there was a commitment to consolidate the two bills.

“They are working on it and I have asked them to bring it out as quickly as they possibly can so that we have the framework with which we will digitalize our government, which we will digitalize our bureaucracy,” he said. “The bills that we have asked the legislature to pass will enable to ensure, fast, transparent, and efficient government service for the Filipinos.”  (MNS)