Aquino Admin Says ‘Digitisation’ a Priority Goal

September 26, 2012

Aquino Admin Says ‘Digitisation’ a Priority Goal

GMA News

Although it is clearly against the creation of a Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the Aquino administration has said that digital technology remains to be a key tool in fostering better transparency and accountability in government.

The country, in fact, is attending the launch of the Better Than Cash (BTC) Alliance, which will be held in New York, according to Malacanang.

Department of Budget and Management (DBM) secretary Florencio B. Abad will represent the Philippines in the event.

The BTC Alliance is a coalition of private institutions, governments, and international organizations committed to implementing cashless payment systems to facilitate transparency in government transactions.

“This Administration recognizes digital technology as a valuable tool for fostering greater transparency and security in financial transactions, particularly in government. Together with other founding states and organizations, the Philippines reaffirms its commitment to implement digitization reforms and cashless solutions in pursuit of better governance and, ultimately, sustainable economic growth,” Abad said.

The Philippines, the government said, has gained recognition from international bodies for pursuing several transparency initiatives, particularly with respect to digital technology.

These include the implementation of a National Payroll System to facilitate the shift from cash or check payments to an electronic-based salary payment system, which will expedite monthly salary releases to government employees and eliminate ghost entries from the current human resource database.

Additionally, the current administration is spearheading a Cashless Purchase Card system, through which government personnel will use a card linked to an online system for authorized purchases.

The system — which will be piloted in the Department of National Defense — will enable the easier monitoring of government transactions, facilitate accurate liquidation and auditing, and ensure efficient and transparent financial management in government agencies.

Also in the works is the transition from ATM card payments for Conditional Cash Transfer beneficiaries to mobile cash payments, as well as the creation of the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS) to facilitate the online procurement of supplies and services.

“Cash-based transactions have long been the norm for our public institutions, but this system has also opened up considerable spaces for irregularity and abuse. We’re tapping digital technology not only to close the gaps that have allowed corruption to take root in the bureaucracy, but also to make service delivery much more efficient than it is now,” Abad said.