MANILA – Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Amenah Pangandaman on Monday said the Philippines should fully embrace digitalization, especially in government processes and business models.
Pangandaman made this remark during the Pilipinas Conference 2022 at the Ayala Museum in Makati City as she underscored the need to leverage digital interventions such as the DBM's Open Government Partnership (PH-OGP) as part of the sustainable development programs under the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.
“Our country needs to fully embrace and transition to digitalization, especially on government processes and business models. This is why at the Department of Budget and Management, digital transformation is at the core of our reform agenda,” she said.
She cited three strategic priorities to promote digital transformation in the country – energizing citizen participation in governance, investing in innovations to close the digital governance gap and harnessing an agile government.
Pangandaman said the PH-OGP, an international program where governments commit to working with the private sector, will encourage transparency and citizen empowerment.
She also said the DBM is in the process of establishing a Civil Society Organizations (CSO) Desk to serve as the focal unit for all concerns related to public participation in the budget process, among others.
“The DBM CSO Desk will be one of the avenues in providing capacity-building activities for CSOs to enable a more meaningful engagement. We target to roll this out by year-end," she said.
Rather than just providing basic connectivity, the DBM chief said the government must make “meaningful” digital opportunities.
"By investing in digitalization, we connect Filipinos to more opportunities. That is why in our proposed [fiscal year] 2023 budget, PHP12.47 billion will be provided for ICT [information communications technology] and digitalization programs and projects of the government," she added.
To improve bureaucratic efficiency, Pangandaman said the DBM is pushing for digitalization throughout the Public Financial Management process, which aims to improve efficiency, accountability, and transparency in public fund use.
She reiterated the DBM’s commitment to roll out the Budget and Treasury Management System (BTMS), which aims to promote better cash management, effective financial control, accountability, and oversight with financial management systems integration across the bureaucracy.
"Our main consideration across these strategic priorities is to leverage digital transformation to achieve open, inclusive, and sustainable governance," she said.
"To this end, we shall deliver effective and efficient public services; provide spaces to listen and to respond to the issues we face; and put the interest and welfare of the Filipino people at the center of its governance," she added.
Last month, President Marcos emphasized the need to hasten the country's digital transformation to enable his administration to provide "fast, transparent, and efficient" services to the public.
The Pilipinas Conference 2022, organized by the Stratbase ADR Institute, delves into government reforms and private sector initiatives to thresh out development challenges and opportunities.
Participants include key stakeholders, thought leaders and reform leaders from government and business to share expertise and experiences. (PNA)