Presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe has thrown her support behind the creation of a Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) and urged the use of ICT to reduce and eventually eliminate physical queues in acquiring government documents and services.
Poe said the government should work for the complete computerization of applications and administrative processes in all agencies. Doing so would not only result in faster transactions but also do away with corruption in frontline services, she noted.
“The prevailing culture is that when you want something from the government, you have to be ready to line up for hours and prepare yourself for several inconveniences. That should not be the case. Every Filipino deserves a government that is compassionate and sensitive to their needs, and provides services that are efficient,” Poe said.
The senator said the DICT will give ICT (information and communications technology) a central role in the socio-economic development of the country.
ICT is currently under the mandate of two agencies: The Information and Communication Technology Office of the Department of Science and Technology and the National Telecommunications Commission.
“The Philippines remains one of the few countries that still do not have a separate ICT ministry,” Poe pointed out. “We don’t have an integrated e-governance facility that would provide the frontline services of all government agencies.”
Elevating the ICT office into a separate department will equate government interaction with its Asean neighbors, especially in the period of integration, the senator said.
Poe said she would push for an ICT industry that is responsive to the needs of Filipinos and can become the main driver of economic growth.
“If we want an open and transparent government that the public trusts, computerizing services, whether for business permits or basic government documents, is a good start,” Poe said.
Delivering basic government service through ICT is now being done fully and partially by some government agencies such as the National Statistics Office and the Department of Foreign Affairs.
However, for a more efficient system, Poe is proposing to harmonize all government ICT resources, instead of government agencies implementing different ICT programs through different private IT service providers.