FIRe Up the Government: A Discussion on Digital Governance in the Philippine Context
|Policy Forum Note|
The Asian Institute of Management Rizalino S. Navarro Policy Center for Competitiveness (AIM RSN PCC), in partnership with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) Philippines, conducted a roundtable discussion entitled, “FIRe Up the Government: a Discussion on Digital Governance in the Philippine Context” last July 11, 2019 at the Asian Institute of Management, Makati City. The event is the second in a series of fora being organized by AIM RSN PCC to discuss how the Philippines should respond to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIRe).
Dr. Jamil Paolo S. Francisco, Executive Director of the AIM RSN PCC and Associate Dean of AIM, formally opened the forum. He reiterated that our society has already entered the Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIRe) age wherein unprecedented advancements in science and technology are increasingly shaping various aspects of our lives. Digital governance, in particular, is a pivotal aspect of the FIRe age. He raised the concern of the Philippines’ readiness for digital governance, particularly the readiness of digital infrastructure in the country.
The forum was divided into two sessions, both moderated by Dr. Jose Ramon Albert of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies. The first session presented general initiatives of the Philippine government towards digital governance, along with the experience of Estonia, one of the most digitally-advanced country in the world. The first speaker, Mr. Hannes Astok of Estonia’s e-Governance Academy, primarily discussed the entire e-government ecosystem of Estonia, including the crucial elements for the success of their e-Governance initiative. Mr. Astok’s presentation was followed by Asec. Alan Silor of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT). He provided an overview of the current initiatives of DICT geared towards the full adaptation of e-Governance. These initiatives include the National Broadband Plan, National Cybersecurity Plan, National ICT Framework, and eGovernment Master Plan.
The third speaker was Ms. Antonette Torres, former Project Manager of the iGov Phil Project of DICT. She discussed this government initiative and emphasized the need for the involvement of both public and private stakeholders. The last speaker for this session was Prof. Sherwin Ona of De La Salle University. He mentioned that the Philippines has enough laws and policies to guarantee eGovernance. It is only a matter of implementing these laws and capacitating the citizens and raising awareness about digital governance.
The second session revolved around specific government services that are already digitized. The session was opened by Mr. Robert Krimmer, professor of e-governance at the Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia. He briefly narrated the e-Voting in Estonia and how this was successfully implemented. Mr. Krimmer’s presentation was followed by Mr. Benjamin Arsenio Navarro of the Philippine Statistics Authority. His presentation focused on the PSA’s current digital programs, including openStat or open data platform for statistical data with API and visualization features, PSA data archive, and e-classification mobile app. He also highlighted the PhilSys program of the government. The last speaker was Engr. Ser John Pastrana of the Land Registration Authority. He discussed LRA’s eTitle program, which provided options for landowners to convert their manually issued land titles into computerized ones. This initiative of LRA is part of their Land Titling Computerization Project.
Ms. Tonette de Jesus, Senior Program Manager from the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) Philippines delivered the closing remarks and summarized the main points raised in the forum.
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