With a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth average of 5-6% over the last five years, the Philippines has become one of the fastest growing economies in the region. Fueled by an increase in public spending, fiscal reform and renewed investor confidence, the country is now considered a regional showcase for socioeconomic progress. It has adopted a philosophy of inclusive growth under the slogan “Daang Matuwid,” which equates good economics with good governance. This underscores governance as an ingredient in achieving growth.
However, the Philippines is now faced with the challenge of sustaining its impressive growth and making it more inclusive. This places a demand on government to provide an environment that ensures openness, efficiency in the delivery of services, and spaces for greater competitiveness. Such a demand, together with increased expectations, requires the government to optimize the role of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in governance. It must move on from the non-integrated path of ICT development and agency-specific applications, toward a path that leads to an e-Government model that creates more valuable and meaningful services through interoperability and maximization of resources.
A. What is the EGMP?
The E-Government Master Plan (EGMP) is a blueprint for the integration of ICTs for the whole of government. It builds on past plans while incorporating current aspirations to create a vision for the future. The plan recognizes that the issue of interoperability and harmonization is not solely a technical problem, but also includes many organizational concerns that need to be overcome. As such, the plan also describes the systems of governance (e.g. institutions, agencies, processes, resources and policies) that need to be strengthened to make its implementation possible and sustainable.
This EGMP is partly based on an assessment study on e-Government development conducted in 2012. The study was jointly undertaken by the National Computer Center of the Philippines and the National IT Industry Promotion Agency of the Republic of Korea. It recommended some activities that must be undertaken to achieve the ICT goals of the Philippines (see Chapter 3). It included an assessment of the current ICT/e-Government state of the Philippines. Benchmarking techniques were used to create a To-Be Model that fits the Philippine context.
Based on that assessment, and with the intent to operationalize the e-Government thrust of the Philippine Digital Strategy (2011-2016), the EGMP acknowledges the important role that ICT plays in facilitating open and transparent government and the delivery of efficient public services. In general, the EGMP provides e-Government builders and partners with the following:
- Strategy for Implementing e-GovernmentThe EGMP adopts a whole-of-government approach that supports the Philippine Development Plan (2011-2016). As the EGMP’s implementation strategy, the Medium-Term ICT Harmonization Initiative (MITHI) places a premium on government interoperability, collaboration and shared resources. This focus highlights the need to develop basic national electronic registries that will be used to support interoperability efforts. While placing a premium on interoperability, MITHI does not exclude mission-critical, agency-specific applications to further improve the delivery of services.
- Priority Projects, Milestones, Resource EstimatesThe EGMP presents building blocks for e-Government that include an initial list of priority projects. One of the most important of these is the Integrated Government Philippines (iGovPhil), which occupies a special place in the EGMP because it enables or facilitates many other projects. It is aimed at maximizing the use of ICT resources through shared ICT infrastructure and services for government agencies.The EGMP also provides an incipient “Action Plan” in the form of indicative milestones and estimates for resources needed for implementation.
- MechanismsConsistent with the “Daang Matuwid” philosophy, the EGMP highlights the importance of collaboration, interoperability, shared services, and openness. It includes a list of proposed policies and mechanisms for creating and ensuring an environment that institutionalizes open government. Government interoperability frameworks (GIFs) and similar mechanisms toward this end will be crucial to the e-Governance agenda.
E-Government in the Philippines is envisioned to create “a digitally empowered and integrated government that provides responsive and transparent online citizen-centered services for a globally competitive Filipino nation.”
To achieve this objective, the EGMP aims to provide e-Government builders with a roadmap for the following:
- For citizens, the EGMP links e-Government programs with development goals. Recognizing the importance of efficient delivery of public services, the plan identifies implementation areas that can ensure maximum benefits for citizens.
- For government, the EGMP provides a blueprint for implementing e-Government initiatives. The plan places a premium on value-adding, shared services, interoperability and the maximization of public resources. It also provides a platform for open government, mindful of anchoring its initiatives on principles of good governance.
- For civil society organizations (CSOs), the private sector, and other partners, the EGMP provides spaces for participation and fosters synergy in governance. The plan highlights the importance of accountability and recognizes the role of CSOs as partners in governance.
- For policy makers, the EGMP identifies policy and advocacy areas that need to be addressed in creating an environment necessary for fostering an integrated, interoperable and harmonized system of e-Governance. Furthermore, given the speed by which ICTs and their usage evolve, the EGMP also underscores the need for institutionalizing dedicated resources for research not only in the creation of applications, but also in studying the implications these may have on governance policies in general.
In summary, the end goal of the EGMP is to achieve transformative e-Governance. Transformative e-Governance is essential to meeting the nation’s development objectives, by enabling the achievement of good governance goals—including operational efficiency, transparency and accountability, enhanced citizen’s engagement, and effective delivery of public services.
To download a copy of the E-Government Masterplan,click here.