Solon bats for 'smart,' technologically adept public sector

By Saul Pa-a

November 25, 2018, 3:02 pm

SMART PUBLIC SECTOR. Albay Rep. Joey Salceda (4th from left), chair of the House Appropriations Committee, presides over a press conference at the sidelines of the two-day International Conference on Public Sector Productivity themed “Shaping a Future-Oriented and Smart Public Sector” at the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) Conference Center, Tagaytay City from Nov. 22 to 23. Joining the panel are (from left) Dr. Santhi Kanoktanaporn, Secretary-General of the Asian Productivity Organization; lawyer Engelbert C. Caronan, DAP President; Civil Service Commission Chair Alicia dela Rosa-Bala; National Economic and Development Authority Undersecretary for Regional Development Adoracion M. Navarro; and Dr. Fadhil Bakeer Markar, partnership analyst, United Nations Development Program-Sri Lanka. (Photo by Saul E. Pa-a)

TAGAYTAY CITY -- Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, urged the government sector to create a “school for the future,” which focuses on capacity building, training, and provisions for incentives to attain a future-oriented and "smart" public sector.

Speaking before hundreds of national and local government executives and foreign delegates during the last day of the International Conference on Public Sector Productivity on Friday, Salceda expressed optimism about the bureaucratic reforms weeding out dysfunctional systems and processes that beset the government sector.

“All government departments must have a digital transformation officer or innovation officer to re-imagine government in the light of digitization of daily lives,” he said, stressing the need to connect the work to the worker and the workplace, where every aspect of work will be “redesigned.”

The Albay representative was one of the resource speakers at the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) and the Asian Productivity Organization (APO)-hosted international conference themed “Shaping a Future-Oriented and Smart Public Sector” at the DAP Conference Center here.

He said there should be transformation and innovation at work and transformative funding mechanism that would efficiently determine “what work gets done, who can do the work, and where is the work done” in the workplace. “Revolutionizing every facet of business and government requires re-education of the bureaucracy and regulatory changes in view of the technological changes, the international dimension of the work, and cyber threats,” he said.

He cited the global exponential trends, such as blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, internet, big data, while the government faces the challenges of budget deficits, aging population and infrastructure, increasing health care costs, slow economic growth, rising population, and increasing citizens’ expectations.

“The trends need to be reconciled either by markets or through governments by public policy,” he said, citing the socio-cultural aspects in the ability of the government to provide the solutions in the gap and the competing influences not only for the economy but for the way of life.

Salceda also called for smart city solutions to address urban development problems like smart roads for autonomous vehicles, innovation of technology (IoT) lighting control systems, and the blockchain technology to improve customer service and efficiency in health care and reduce corruption and fake documents in land registration.

He added the rise of transnational crimes and health scares as “crimes, not just terrorism, will become more transnational empowered by internet and transportation technologies like drugs, cyber attacks, theft of information and digital money, and epidemics like ebola could cross borders.”

He proposed that regulators can start by addressing four important questions under four stages: pre-regulatory on “what do we have now”; testing and evaluation “when to regulate”; regulatory approach on “how to regulate”; and revisit on “what has changed.”

He cited for instance that labor and industry departments could oversee re-equipping of workers, skills needed from jobs that will become obsolete, where call center agents, cab drivers, hotel concierge could shift into new types of jobs like IoT technicians, professional gamer, 3D printing programmer, and drone operator.

He also said that rapid technological change and disruption are taking place, as technology moves faster than the ability of governments to adapt and the threat of rapid adoption of AI and automation may result in millions displaced from work. (PNA)