IT is certainly saddening and lamentable that many local government units (LGUs) – provinces, cities and municipalities – are unable to shift to “online services” due to a number of factors.
In the view of many, limited access to computers, poor infrastructure, and other related issues have been “hindering” the development of e-government services throughout the country.
Reports said that only 30 percent of LGUs have taken steps to digitize their operations and processes, prompting Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara to file Senate Bill (SB) 1943.
SB 1943 calls for the creation of a new position of Information and Communication Technology Officer (ICTO) in all provinces, cities and municipalities across the nation.
Under the proposed legislation, ICTOs will formulate and implement digitization plans in their respective LGUs.
Angara said the shift to digital or online services has accelerated as a result of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and “government cannot afford to be left behind.”
“One need only to look into how more Filipinos now regularly use their mobile phones and computers to shop, do their groceries, and even transact with their banks,” according to Angara.
He said the absence of digital services poses problems such as what was experienced in the distribution of cash aid during government-decreed enhanced community quarantine in Luzon.
Admittedly, it is urgent on the country’s LGUs to hasten the digitization of government processes and operations.
As Senator Angara said, a shift to digital processes will not only mean faster and more efficient work, but more importantly this will result in better services for the burgeoning population.