The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) and Commission on Audit (CoA) gave the go ahead to government agencies and local government units (LGUs) to use the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT)’s digital signatures through the Philippine National Public Key Infrastructure (PNPKI).

In a recent statement on December 21, 2020, ARTA confirmed that PNPKI digital signatures and electronic signatures may be validly used for government permits and licenses, provided that there is compliance with the requirements as set forth in the Electronic Commerce Act or R.A. No. 8792. The COA reminded users that improper use of digital and electronic signatures may subject them to applicable penalties.

“The future of government services will all be online. Digital signature technology should be embraced and adopted to enable the complete online performance of government services in our agencies. COA’s affirmation on the validity and acceptability of these digital solutions for government services would allow agencies to confidently and decisively proceed with their automation programs,” ARTA Director General Jeremiah Belgica said.

ARTA also reminded the public that there are substantial differences between a digital signature and an electronic signature, with the former providing better assurance of the authenticity of the document signed, the identity of the signatory, and the signature itself. An electronic signature, meanwhile, derives its validity from the intent of the signatory to adopt such as a mark as an authentic sign of his approval of a document.

Both types of signatures will be honored by the government to expedite the delivery of government services.

“We encourage government agencies and local government offices to avail of PNPKI digital signatures to enable our fellow public servants to complete their work transactions in a faster and more secure manner. This also improves the transparency and ensures the integrity of the documents we handle,” DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II said.

Learn more about DICT’s PNPKI here