Govt earmarks P878M for IT/communications upgrade

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THE Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has earmarked P878.5 million for the improvement of efficiency of government services through the use of information and communications technology (ICT).

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In a statement on Monday, the budget agency said the amount was released to the Department of Science and Technology-Information and Communications Technology Office (DOST-ICTO) for the second phase of the iGovPhil project, which is a vital component of the e-Government Master Plan for 2013-2016.

The iGovPhil project is undertaken by the DOST-ICTO to enhance the delivery by national government agencies of public services by developing information and communications technology infrastructure, systems and applications.

The DBM said that bulk of the project funding, or P738.6 million, has been allotted for the deployment of fiber optic cables and the establishment and operation of data centers.

The initiative has a total project cost of P2.53 billion. Implementation of iGovPhil started in 2012 and it is due for completion by 2016.

The DBM said it has previously released P164.6 million to ICTO in 2012 for the first phase of the project. The latest release of P878.5 million—charged against the fiscal year 2014 E-Government Fund—will cover funding requirements for the second phase of the project.

The budget agency said that as of end-2013, 30 percent and 80 percent of government agencies in Manila and Cebu, respectively, have been successfully connected to the fiber optic network, while 71 percent of the targeted Government Data Centers have already been established.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said that the project will go a long way in better harmonizing government processes and inter-operability within the bureaucracy, leading to a faster and more efficient delivery of government services to the people.

“We remain committed to harnessing technology and developing relevant mechanisms to improve the way government agencies work with each other. Data security won’t be an issue, since we’ll be using common application systems across the bureaucracy,” Abad said.

The budget chief also recognized that apart from the savings that government will generate, paperless transactions will save time by linking various government agencies through the shared ICT infrastructure.

“The Aquino Administration believes in the power of information technology in transforming governance in our country. It plays a vital role in opening doors to a more transparent and efficient government, as well as quicker delivery of public services, enhanced public engagement, and ultimately, good governance.,” Abad said.

“It would be a shame if we didn’t tap into ICT solutions when they could make such a huge and positive difference in the way government works,” he added.

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