Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto is backing President Duterte's request to Congress to appropriate P422 million "for the development of a centralized portal allowing individuals to make transactions - from filling out forms to payment - online."
The chief executive made the pitch in his Budget Message for Fiscal Year 2018, which serves as his cover letter explaining the highlights of the P3.767 trillion spending bill he has asked Congress to approve.
Duterte said a "National Government Portal" is needed because "our citizens deserve first class service." The NGP will "eliminate the need to physically go to offices or visit multiple agencies' website to perform transactions," Duterte said in his message to lawmakers.
Funding for the project, according to the President, "will ensure a 100 percent production-ready NGP, migrate 100 percent of public documents into the gov.ph portal, allow 10 percent integration of Government Web Hosting Service (GWHS)."
It will also "provide 10 percent accessibility of top 10 eServices, and make 40 percent of common and shared services available through the portal," Duterte explained.
Recto said there is no doubt that all parties in the House and in the Senate will approve the presidential request.
"Kung kulang pa, dapat dagdagan," Recto said, baring his intent to ask officials of the Department of Information and Communications Technology if the funding as recommended by the Budget department is enough to ensure a full early rollout.
"We should spare no funds in giving our people the best anti-red tape app," he said.
"This is also what they want. In this digital age, they're saying that they're tired of going from one office to another in the maze that is the bureaucracy to secure one permit. They want their fingers on their smartphones to do the walking," Recto said.
Recto said Duterte also announced the ramping up of the Integrated Business Permits and Licensing System (IBPLS) to integrate barangay clearances building permits and sanitary permit processing systems into the business permitting systems of LGUs.
The program, costing P56 million, will be deployed to 40 LGUS, Duterte said in his Budget Message.
According to the DICT, the NGP is a single window containing all online information and operational infrastructures, and public services of the government.
Using the internet as an aid, it aims to provide a one-stop-shop of online government services to the public sector and private businesses, the DICT said in a paper submitted to Congress.
If Congress will approve NGP funding, Recto said "we will demand that what DICT promised, 'that citizens need not physically go to government offices to perform typical transactions, such as applying for a driver's license, filing of taxes, and renewing of passport,' will indeed be fulfilled."
According to Recto, the DICT has guaranteed that citizens will "just have to go to the portal, log in with their Single Sign On (SSO) credentials, search for the services they want to avail, and complete the transactions - from filling out forms to payment - online."
The DICT has promised a portal content that is "first and foremost citizen-centric."
To be efficient in providing a communications link, the NGP will focus on grouping content according to what citizens need like "Tax and Payments", "Clearances, Forms, and Licenses", "Pension", "Transport, Fares and Prices" and "Food and Agriculture," the DICT said.
"This what we need--a combined Google, and Waze for a public wanting to get data or service from the government in a manner that is fast, and in many cases, free," Recto said.
The DICT has a proposed budget of P6.9 billion for 2018, P1.7 billion of which is for installation of 5,308 free WiFi hotspots in public places. Recto is principal author of both the DICT Law (RA 10844) and the Free Wifi in Public Places Act (RA 10929).
Source: Senate of the Philippines