Marcos urges Congress to fast-track bills digitalizing PHL bureaucracy  

PEOPLE line up to receive financial aid in hard cash at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. on Wednesday asked lawmakers to quickly approve bills seeking to digitalize the Philippine bureaucracy.   

He made the appeal as he raised concern about the Philippines’ ranking in an e-government index by the United Nations, saying the country has experienced a “regression.”  

Speaking at an information and communications technology summit attended by state officials and businessmen, Mr. Marcos said lawmakers should “help accelerate” the approval of e-governance and e-government bills — which were among the priority legislative measures he mentioned during his first address to Congress in July.  

“The bills that we have asked the legislators to pass will enable us to ensure fast, transparent and efficient government service for the Filipinos,” he said. “I therefore call on all our fellow servant-leaders in Congress to help accelerate the approval of these bills once again.”  

Citing a meeting with the liaison body between the executive and legislative branches, Mr. Marcos disclosed that the two measures would be consolidated into a single bill. 

The Philippines slipped 12 notches in the E-Government Development Index (EGDI) 2022, dropping to 89th spot among 193 economies.  

“That is not an encouraging number,” Mr. Marcos said. “This assessment of our performance is, at the very least, worrying. We actually experienced a regression.”   

He said the report came “even though many innovations and technologies in ICT are open and widely available.”  

The President vowed to improve the Philippine government’s capacity to use information and communications technology (ICT) to deliver public services.  

“Clearly, we will do better: Our ICT professionals are among the best in the field and Filipinos are among the most tech-savvy people in the world,” he said. “There is, essentially, nothing holding us back.”   

Mr. Marcos asked the private sector to share with the government their ICT knowledge and assets.   

“It turns out that even in the sector of ICT… partnerships are not a business partnership,” he said. “I suppose, it is a sharing of technology, it’s a sharing of knowledge, it is a sharing of the state-of-the-art from the private sector with the public sector.” — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza