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Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo

Oct 14, 2022

100 days of strengthened digitalization efforts

Since the start of his administration, President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. has emphasized the need for the country to advance and enhance its digitalization efforts, primarily by providing digital connectivity across the country and advancing e-governance to improve public service.


In the first 100 days of President Bongbong, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), under the leadership of Secretary Ivan John Uy, has worked toward these goals. To sustain the nation’s continued recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, the DICT is helping mitigate its impact through the use of digital systems that enable efficient administration of citizen vaccination and ease the people’s access to vaccination information.


Moreover, the DICT has been providing trainings and other capacity-building services for students and employees to help them cope with learning losses during the pandemic and better adapt to the new normal of education and work through the ICT Literacy and Competency Development (ILCD).

In the first 100 days, the department launched 12 Tech4ED centers, a national digital inclusion initiative that establishes physical centers or hubs that provide critical e-government and ICT-enabled services in communities with minimal to no access to information and government services.


The DICT’s regional offices have been providing different digital literacy training, and skills training across various provinces, conducting online, offline and hybrid trainings. A total of 165 trainings with 6,356 participants have been conducted in 11 regions; 2,763 students completed the ICT trainings through the Courses on Literacy for Internet and Computer Knowledge (Project CLICK); 305 graduated from DigitalJobsPH trainings and are ready for employment; 87 trainings conducted under the Empowering Digital Workers of Gig Industry Ecosystem in the Philippines (EDGE PH) that aims to develop a strong ICT ecosystem for the Online Freelancing Industry; and 19,619 participants updated with the latest in technology through TechTrends seminars.


E-governance


As the government pushes reforms toward the transition to e-governance, the DICT improved ease of registering a business through the Integrated Business Permits and Licensing System Software (iBPLS) and Electronic BPLS (eBLS). The iBPLS is a cloud-based system that enables LGUs and their constituents to apply and process business permits, building permits, certificate of occupancy, barangay clearance, and other related permits, certificates, and licenses online.

Meanwhile, the eBPLS software was developed and implemented by the DICT to enable LGUs and their constituents to apply for and process business permits electronically, pursuant to Section 11 of RA No. 11032.


As of Oct. 3, 2022, the DICT has assisted 275 LGUs currently implementing the Business Permit with Barangay Clearance (BPBC) system, and 35 LGUs implementing the Building Permit and Certificate of Occupancy (BCPO) system.


Moreover, the DICT has launched the Integrated Local Government System (iLGU), in partnership with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), to implement an end-to-end business registration with LGUs for business permits, clearances, real property tax, business tax, civil registry, and other permits.


Currently, 25 cities and municipalities are implementing the system, which shall streamline citizens’ transactions with LGUs. Meanwhile, 906 LGUs signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that will implement the iBPLS in their localities.


‘Build Better More’


The DICT aims to build the necessary digital infrastructure under the “Build Better More” thrust to enhance connectivity and to provide Filipinos with digital tools to help the economy recover.

The Free Wi-Fi for All Program has accomplished an additional 628 operational Free Wi-Fi sites – on top of the existing 4,129 sites – bringing the total live sites to 4,757 in all 17 regions, 75 provinces and Metro Manila, and 606 cities and municipalities nationwide, including those in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDAs) such as Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Pag-asa Island in the Kalayaan Group of Islands. This government service has been accessed by at least 2.1 million unique users, which roughly translates to 100,000 families provided with connectivity all over the country.


The Luzon Bypass Infrastructure, which will increase total government capacity from 40,000 Mbps to 2,000,000 Mbps in the next six years, has gained headway and is expected to reach completion in the first half of 2023.


The DICT has established new GovNet sites in Laoag, Boac, and Subic, which are expected to connect an additional 128 government facilities, including public schools, public hospitals, government agencies, and State Universities and Colleges (SUCs). Agencies connected to the GovNet through a fiber optic backbone can reap the benefits of an effective ICT infrastructure, such as more efficient internet services and a networked government. Currently, there are 691 offices in 11 regions with active GovNet sites all over the country.


To deliver broadband internet at low latency, especially in GIDAs where laying fiber cables is challenging or not cost-effective, the DICT welcomes satellite connectivity through Satellite Systems Providers or Operators (SSPOs), one of which is Starlink, which is expected to begin its rollout by the end of the year.

Moreover, to further the Philippine digital agenda, the DICT has various international cooperation, such as the signing of the memorandum of understanding with Singapore in the field of digital cooperation; multilateral agreements within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN); and seven international organizations, including the Brunei-Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), where we accepted the chairmanship of the BIMP-EAGA ICT cluster for 2022-2025.


In addition, the Philippines’ reelection to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Council for the term 2023 -2026 provides us a vital role in advancing digital transformation for the good of all.

The administration of President Bongbong Marcos is determined to push through digitalization with more vitality, to expand connectivity in the underserved and unserved areas in the country, and to improve government productivity and efficiency in delivering public services. This is the mandate of the DICT and the next six years, it will accelerate national digital transformation.

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