Tuesday, June 18, 2024

DBM allotting P24.13 billion for ICT-related spending in 2023

BORACAY — The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said it is allocating a total of P24.13 billion for ICT-related expenditures from the P5.268-trillion national budget for 2023.

Photo shows DBM secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman during the PHILBO convention in Boracay

This was disclosed by DBM secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman during her keynote speech at the Carmela Resort here on Thursday, March 23, at the annual convention of the Philippine League of Local Budget Officers (PHILBO).

Pangandaman said the budget allocation for ICT covers funding for the Free Public Internet Access Program, National Government Data Center Infrastructure, National Broadband Plan, and the National Government Portal, among others.

“Under this budget, some P3.56 billion was given to the Department of Finance and its attached agencies, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, and Bureau of Customs, to improve government revenue collection through digitalization,” she said.

Meanwhile, some P2.06 billion was allotted for the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) to fast-track its rollout and deployment.  

A portion of the P7.24-billion financial assistance was also allocated to LGUs to be used for ICT systems and infrastructure development such as the establishment of an integrated Business Permit and Licensing System, and digitalization of payments for collections and disbursements.

“This complements the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Executive Order No. 170 which mandates the adoption of digital payments for government disbursements and collections, ultimately promoting financial inclusion — an advocacy I have been pushing for even while I was still with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. Digital transformation is also a vital tool in strengthening PFM (Public Financial Management) at all levels of government, especially at the local level,” the DBM chief said.

“However, for this to come to life, we need an enabling environment that would focus on digitalizing key PFM processes. Last December, the PFM Committee — composed of the DBM, the Department of Finance, the Commission on Audit, and the Bureau of Treasury — agreed to leverage digitalization in pursuing its PFM Reform Agenda,” she added.

Currently, the DBM said it is lobbying and working with Congress for the enactment of the Progressive Budgeting for Better and Modernized Governance or the PBBM Governance Bill.

“This is hope to institutionalize the Integrated Financial Management Information System and strengthen implementation of the Cash Budgeting System,” Pangandaman said.

She said the DBM has identified digital transformation as a key pillar for government reforms.

“This will translate to more efficient public service delivery, as well as more transparent, credible, and clean governance. It will also help the government build robust data systems that will create better programs such as targeted social protection and more efficient employment opportunity linking systems,” Pangandaman said.

On the other hand, DBM undersecretary Maria Franchesca del Rosario said that agency is looking at best practices in India to effectively implement the digitization system among local government units.

“We are also coordinating with several government agencies and private sectors to streamline the permits needed in building a telecom tower. Currently, a telco needs at least 25 permits before it could build one tower. We hope to reduce the number to fast-track our thrusts to fully digitize our system,” she added.

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