House OKs e-governance bill on 2nd reading

MANILA — The House of Representatives approved on 2nd reading this week House Bill 7327 or the proposed E-Governance Act.

The House is expected to approve the bill, a priority of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC), on final reading next week.

Davao Oriental 2nd District Rep. Cheeno Miguel Almario explained to his colleagues prior to approval that the bill mandates the implementation of E-Government systems across all government agencies. 

“This will require agencies to create and maintain online portals and mobile apps that provide citizens with easy access to government services and information under the guidance of the Department of Information and Communications Technology. It will also require agencies to digitize their operations, such as implementing electronic document management systems, and to prioritize cybersecurity measures to protect citizen data,” Almario said in his sponsorship speech.

Almario explained that the benefits of this bill go beyond just improving government services. 

“By implementing E-Government systems, we can attract more businesses to the Philippines and create more job opportunities in the technology sector. It can enhance the business environment, attract foreign investments, and reduce transaction costs, all of which contribute to the growth of the economy. We can also improve our ranking in the Global Competitiveness Index, which considers the quality of a country’s digital infrastructure and the extent to which it uses technology to enhance government services,” Almario added.

Almario said the bill can help to bridge the digital divide in the Philippines.

“While many urban areas have access to digital technology, there are still many areas in the country that lack basic internet connectivity. By implementing E-Governance systems, we can ensure that citizens in these areas also have access to government services and information, which can help to reduce inequality and improve the overall quality of life in these communities,” Almario said.

In his speech, Almario also emphasized the need for efficient, reliable, and secure electronic communication between government agencies and citizens as the country moves further into the 21st century which is increasingly driven by technology and digital innovation. 

Almario recalled the examples of Estonia, South Korea, and Singapore as countries which highlight the transformative power of E-Government Systems in enhancing the quality of governance and improving the lives of citizens. 

For his part, Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco, chairperson of the House Committee on Information and Communication Technology, explained that the pandemic only expedited the need for its execution. 

“Digitalization of services is clearly the most efficient solution to bridge the gap in the delivery of government services as E-governance can simply be seen as moving citizen services online, and in its broadest sense – the technology-enabled transformation of the government,” Tiangco said in his own sponsorship speech.

Tiangco also said the proposed E-Govemance Law will increase and encourage people’s participation in the governance process.

The plenary session approved the bill with no changes to the committee’s submission, paving the way for approval on final reading, next week. | Originally published on ABS-CBNews

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