Gov’t agencies exploring IoT for better public services

By Espie Angelica A. de Leon

The Department of Education (DepED), Department of Agriculture (DA), and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) are mining the possibilities of IoT technologies to deliver more efficient, effective, and corruption-free services to the Filipino public.

IOT

This was revealed by top representatives of the agencies during the Public Services Panel discussion of the 15th Asia IoT Business Platform held at Manila Marriott Hotel in Pasay City from August 1-2, 2017.

DepEd has been distributing computer packages to public schools and setting up computer laboratories in recipient schools.

“What we’d like to do is to monitor how the students and teachers are using these computer packages — which learning materials they are mostly accessing, what applications they are using in their labs, how much they are using these packages,” revealed DepEd chief information officer Aida Yuvienco.

“We would like to connect all the servers in these schools. By next year, we would have a consolidated budget for this connectivity,” she added.

The DepEd is also collaborating with private companies like Microsoft to develop learning materials to capacitate educators in their teachings of ICT to students.

The DA also has several IoT projects, both existing and on the drawing board.

One of these is the ongoing revision of its registry system with 13 million individuals registered. The registered farmers and fishermen are given identification cards which they can present to the DA to avail loans and other services.

DA information and communications technology service director Clint D. Hassan said they are now enhancing the data in the registry so they can monitor all farmers and fishermen in the country. He added that they used the Open Data Kit System for registration and validation.

Projects on the drawing board include an online site for selling and ordering farmers’ products, centralization of the DA from the central office to its regional and attached agencies for easier monitoring of information, installation of IT cameras in farms and in water to get insights on what’s going on in real time, use of robots to capture information on fisheries and land such as soil temperature, and deployment of land and sea drones for agricultural activities such as spraying pesticides.

Meanwhile, PhillHealth is now operating under the national e-health government structure which harmonizes data collection systems of agencies, thus simplifying the process.

Among their targets is the implementation of electronic medical records (EMR) accessible to stakeholders by 2018 to serve as basis for data collected by all agencies. There are already devices which can be connected into the EMR, and PhilHealth is now coordinating with DOH on this.

PhilHealth chief information officer Jovita V. Aragona added that they are also open to collaborations with other government agencies which have approached them to introduce their own applications.

On top of these, the agency has online systems for payment, membership registration, submission of contributions, electronic premium reporting, among others.

“It is not Philhealth alone. It is not DOH alone,” Aragona emphasized. “We have to combine our efforts and our strategic directions because what we want is the essence of citizen-centric, fast services, ease of transactions. We also would like to create an open, participatory and trustworthy public services.”

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