By Edd K. Usman
Filipinos can look forward to better government online services as the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) “soft-launched” on Wednesday, Dec. 14, the National Government Portal (NGP).
The DICT designed the NGP as a “one-stop-shop of online services” aimed at untangling the web of complicated transactions in government as well as to prevent crowding in offices and reduce red tape.
Users of the website can transact with various government agencies and avail of the online services they offer. The portal will be made fully operational in January 2017.
DICT undersecretary Denis F. Villorente led the soft-launch of the NGP, the highlight for this year of the Integrated Government Philippines (iGovPhil) Program.
“Our citizens today are demanding for more accessible, responsive, and user-centric services that cater to their specific needs. In response, we have spearheaded initiatives to interconnect agencies and deliver faster and more efficient online services,” he said.
Of the websites of government agencies now available, Villorente said the citizens find them difficult to navigate while doing transactions with multiple parties for simple requests are “outright frustrating.”
“As government services continue to dissatisfy the citizens, we see the public trust and ICT-related expenses mount up,” the DICT official said.
Villorente pointed to the delivery of services across multiple channels as the biggest problem, and that because of the absence of single platform for all online government transactions, the public is generally lost around varying standards and protocols that different agencies are implementing.
“With the launching of the National Government Portal today, we can see the solution to these problems,” he said confidently.
Also launched by the DICT together with the NGP was the Deduping and Matching Application (DMA) which, he said, “will check the data for accuracy against a common source.”
DMA was designed to eliminate duplicates in databases and merge and match them with the authenticated record. Villorente said: “The application is expected to improve the quality of data in government.”
He said the DICT collaborated with the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) for the DMA’s pilot implementation. “We are currently cleaning its 155 million birth records for possible duplicates,” Villorente revealed.
Villorente described the NGP and DMA “as the backbone of an inter-operable and interconnected e-Government that will improve not only inter-agency collaboration, but more importantly, the delivery of services to our people.”
Relatedly, the DICT and the PSA signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the cleaning of marriage and death records. “With DMA, we aim to help PSA and other agencies to clean their massive databases faster and more efficiently,” the DICT exec assured.
DICT will use the DMA in creating the person information registry, a streamlined database of citizens and people who interacts with the government.
The creation of the person information registry signals the first stage of the DICT plan to build databases for the common government platform, with more registries in the pipeline for datasets on land, business, and transportation.
The PSA will be the first agency to harness the DMA in its On-premises Person Registry System to “deduplicate” and match its birth, marriage, and death records and later on to be shared or validated with other agencies and stakeholders.
The launch event also included workshop for IT (information technology) professionals from various government agencies conducted at Seameo Innotech in Quezon City.