The digital transformation that our country is becoming more and more evident especially with the rise in digital and online classes, meetings, and work. Because of this, the current Administration plans on allocating P21.4 billion in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure system. With the ICT getting a P21.4 billion budget; President Rodrigo Duterte said that the country’s digital transformation can be leveraged and be better.
In his message, he said that establishing digital connectivity is of great importance to assist the citizens of the country. More so, this can help Local Government Units (LGUs) to heighten and secure the safety and health protocols that they are performing.
Leveraging ICT will help us improve coordination between essential stakeholders; make sound and data-based policy decisions in responding to the threats of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019), deliver critical services to our citizens (that are) compliant to health and safety protocols, and keep the economy running.”
Breakdown of the Budget
The Philippine government looks to provide a vicious amount of fund for the ICT; but how is it broken down? What are the funds for exactly? As per Duterte, P7.6 billion is seen to be set aside to help fund the ICT requirements for telecommunications infrastructure. They say that this is going to help in the shifting from the traditional government transactions, to the e-governance function.
P9.4 billion, on the other hand, will be utilized to help the daily ICT expenses of the government. This include, but are not limited to:
- Replacement of outdated desktops, PCs, and laptops;
- Internet subscriptions;
- Payment for license subscriptions; and
- Maintenance of data centers and computers
Apart from that, the funds remaining are to be exhausted for the following reasons:
- The National Government Portal (P197 million);
- Funding for the “free internet wi-fi access connectivity” in public places (P2.4 billion);
- The National Broadband Plan (P903 million); and the
- National Government Data Center (P2.1 billion)
In his message, he concluded that his administration is ready to provide this amount for the ICT capabilities that our country has.
Thus, my administration is providing a budget of P21.4 billion to cover next year’s Medium-Term Information and Communications Technology Harmonization Initiative expenditures to harmonize and ensure interoperability of the government’s ICT resources, programs, and projects.”
Tax System Digitization
With the ICT getting a P21.4 billion budget, the tax system should never be left out, too. As a matter of fact, the President, in his message, also said that they are currently investing on certain measures to digitize the tax system of the country. It would not just make their lives easier, it’s also for the good and for the benefit of taxpayers; it can help hasten, strengthen, and make transactions more convenient.
The administration said a budget of P1.4 billion has been allocated to sustain, maintain, and develop the existing ICT projects and systems that the tax bureau has.
Other Improvement Projects
Earlier, the Duterte Administration said that they also made propositions to gain a budget of P22 million to develop online information systems for nutrition enhancement and health emergencies in the country. P1 billion has been the budget allotted for cybersecurity to keep all sensitive and confidential information of businesses, individuals, and the government safe and sound.
Furthermore, P5 million has also been allocated to the National Justice Information System (NJIS. The plan is to help and assist in building an integrated and a real-time information system in the criminal justice sector.
2021 will be all about digitization and service improvement for the Philippines. With the ICT getting a P21.4 billion budget, it’s safe to say that we are on our way to catching up with the world’s most advanced and most technologically- advanced programs and projects.
The pandemic has taken a lot from us; apart from taking millions of jobs worldwide, shutting businesses down, and even endangering the education of students. However, the current Administration is doing what it can to help everyone cope with the current situation.
Giving the ICT this budget will not just help improve and develop the technology that our country has; it also helps students, workers, and even those at home to be more knowledgeable and more aware of how they can continue their livelihood without their health being in grave danger.
What do you think of the plans of the Philippine National Government in providing that budget for the ICT? Would it help in the current situation that we are in when it comes to the digitization of services?
Source/s: The Philippine Star