Monday, June 24, 2024

House approves E-Governance Act on final reading

The House of Representatives approved on third and final reading on Monday night, March 6, a bill that institutionalizes the government’s shift to e-governance for faster and improved delivery of services to the public.

Photo from Congress

House Bill (HB) No. 7327, titled “An Act institutionalizing the transition of the government to E-Governance in the digital age, creating for the purpose the Philippine Infostructure Management Corp. and appropriating funds therefor”, received 304 yes votes and 4 negative votes.

Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, the principal author of the proposed law, said the measure aims to make government services accessible to the people.

“The bill would make it easier for people to transact with and avail themselves of services from the government through digital platforms. It would make the delivery of services more effective, efficient, and transparent,” Romualdez said.

HB No. 7327 is a consolidation of 21 related measures, including the first proposed E-Governance Law filed in the House, HB No. 3.

The bill seeks to adopt “a policy to create, foster and sustain a digitally empowered and integrated government that provides secure, responsible and transparent citizen-centered services and harnesses the potential of open data for promoting economic growth and a globally competitive Filipino nation.”

Among other objectives, it would “promote the use of the Internet, information and communications technology (ICT) and emerging technologies within and across government agencies to provide citizen-centric government information and services, and improve the public trust and citizen participation in the government.”

It would also encourage inter-agency collaboration in the delivery of services and in the use of ICT to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of processes.

It shall cover all executive, legislative, judicial, and constitutional offices, including local government units, state universities and colleges, government-owned or -controlled corporations, and similar state instrumentalities located in the country or abroad.

It would likewise apply to “back-end government operations, within, between, and across agencies, government-to-government transactions, particularly those involving sharing and processing of data and information between and among government agencies for policy, planning and decision-making purposes, and other government operations.”

The bill defines e-governance as the “application of ICT in establishing interaction between the different levels of government, business and the citizenry.”

“It also involves the implementation of internal government operations meant to simplify and improve both the democratic and business aspects of government,” the measure stated.

E-government refers to the use of ICT by the government to enhance access to and delivery of services to bring about efficient, responsive, ethical, accountable, and transparent government.

The bill designates the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) as the principal implementer of the proposed law.

It tasks the DICT to formulate and promote an E-Government Master Plan that will serve as the blueprint for the development and enhancement of all electronic government services processes.

Agency heads are mandated to implement the proposed legislation in coordination with the DICT.

Each agency is directed to appoint a chief information officer who shall ensure that ICT systems are developed, implemented, and compliant with DICT standards and relevant laws, including the Data Privacy Act of 2012.

The proposed law mandates that services needed for business and non-business transactions and documents, including permits, licenses, and clearances, shall be made efficient by integrating all agencies involved into one portal, mobile application, or similar platform.

It directs all agencies, including local governments, to continuously improve their websites and to establish an e-bulletin board for information dissemination.

HB No. 7327 creates the Philippine Infostructure Corp. to manage government ICT assets, including infrastructure, platform, and software.

The corporation shall have an authorized capital of P5 billion.

The DICT, in coordination with relevant agencies, shall issue implementing rules and regulations.

The bill creates a joint congressional oversight committee to oversee the implementation of the proposed law.

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