ADMINISTRATION Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” T. Go pledged to push for timely passage of enabling legislation to institutionalize digital payments for government disbursements and collections, even as he welcomed the release by President Duterte of Executive Order 170 authorizing it.
Go reaffirmed this commitment by emphasizing the importance of digitizing financial transactions in the country, while crediting the Chief Executive’s timely directive ordering the adoption of digital payments for government disbursements and collections.
By signing EO 170 on May 12, Duterte directed all government departments, agencies and bodies, including state universities and colleges and government-owned or controlled corporations, to “adopt payments for their respective disbursements and collections,” directing local government units to do the same.
Initially, Go recalled that he was already pushing for the digitization of financial management operations in government to improve transparency and efficiency in the use of public funds.
The administration’s legislator is convinced that embracing digitalization is “the way forward to improve the transparency and efficiency of government transactions and the use of public funds using digital platforms.”
As set out in EO 170, “all agencies are required to use secure and efficient digital disbursement for the payment of goods, services and other disbursements, including in the distribution of financial assistance, as well as in the payment of wages, salaries, allowances and other remuneration to employees.
Government agencies are encouraged to offer a digital method of collecting payments for taxes, fees, tolls, and other charges and levies. The EO allows agencies to disburse funds directly to the transaction accounts of recipients or beneficiaries without the need for a special agreement from the financial institution concerned.
The EO noted that the pandemic has highlighted the benefits of using digital payment services across various sectors, “as it has enabled a fast, convenient, secure and seamless mode of government service delivery and business transactions. “.
Go also observed that the pandemic “has highlighted gaps, both planned and unplanned, in the delivery of government services in the country.”
Highlighting the crucial role government must play in transitioning to the digital age, Go said it was what prompted him to introduce Senate Bill 1738, known as the Governance Act. electronic, in 2020.
“At a time when almost everything can be done online and through other digital platforms, government must harness the power of information and communications technology to better serve its purpose and bring government closer to the people,” added Go.
He reiterated that “we need e-governance to provide our citizens with the services they need from the comfort of their homes or workplaces. Not only will this allow our bureaucracy to better transition to the “new normal”, but it will also reduce or minimize bureaucracy and corruption.
The senator assured that once SB 1738 is enacted, it will provide for the establishment of an integrated, interconnected and interoperable network of information and resource sharing and communications spanning across national and local government, a internal case management information system, an information database and digital portals for public service delivery.
Go projects that when signed into law, the remedial legislation will “accelerate digital transformation by removing the delays and other problems that come with traditional governance in communications, resource sharing and information sharing.”
The administration’s legislator, likewise, envisions that through the e-Governance Act, “the public will feel that government is really and truly at their fingertips.”
“Times have changed,” adds Go, noting that “as we work towards pandemic recovery, the transition to e-governance becomes crucial, especially the digitization of government processes.”