July 28, 2021

Policymaking and service delivery is aided by digital change

As the Philippines transitions to a new and better normal, data science, analytics, and digital transformation can help create better policies and provide better services, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

“I’ve always believed in and pushed for government-wide digital transformation to improve policymaking and service delivery. To create better policies, both the government and companies must utilize data science. In the new normal, this has become even more urgent,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said on Tuesday at the 2021 Analytics Summit PH.

The summit, hosted by the Analytics Association of the Philippines (AAP), brings together key stakeholders from various sectors to assess and learn more about how best practices in data science and analytics can help the Philippines meet the challenges of socio-economic development and service delivery while keeping up with the 4th Industrial Revolution.

During the pandemic, when social protection services must be provided effectively utilizing information and communications technology, the NEDA head emphasized the need for digitalization (ICT).

The biggest challenge in implementing the social amelioration program (SAP) for 18 million families and the small business wage subsidy (SBWS) for 3.1 million workers, according to Chua, was getting these critical emergency responses to people who were mostly unbanked or didn’t have access to formal financial services.

“There was no unified registration or database of Filipinos to identify beneficiaries during the height of the crisis. At the same time, 71% of the adult population did not have a bank account, making it impossible to distribute subsidies effectively. This is why the President issued an order to hasten the development of the Philippine Identification System, or PhilSys, in order to give every Filipinos with a unique and digitalized ID,” he said.

The Philippine Statistics Authority has implemented a three-step registration procedure to guarantee the safe and effective deployment of PhilSys in the face of the epidemic.

Over 38.7 million people have signed up for phase 1 of the demographic data collection, which began in October 2020.

Over 4.8 million people have applied for bank accounts, and 20.1 million people have completed step 2 registration or biometrics collection. In addition, approximately 558,000 people have gotten their PhilID cards.

“We see PhilSys as a catalyst for broad use of financial services and electronic payments, boosting the digital economy’s development. In the future, PhilSys may help with broad population vaccination and the deployment of digital vaccine credentials,” Chua added.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act 11055, or the PhilSys Act, into law in August 2018, with the goal of creating a single national ID for all Filipinos and permanent foreigners.

The national ID will serve as legitimate evidence of identification that will make public and private transactions, school enrollment, and bank account opening easier.

It will also improve efficiency, particularly when interacting with government services since individuals would only need to show one form of identification during transactions.

In addition to PhilSys, he named the Public Service Act, the Foreign Investment Act, and the Retail Trade Liberalization Act as important legislations for attracting investments in critical sectors to promote digital transformation.

“Opening up the telecommunications industry via the Public Service Act, in particular, would assist to enhance internet services and build our digitalization base. Digital services like cloud computing would be more feasible with faster and cheaper internet,” Chua said.

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