In an exclusive interview with FutureGov, Louis Casambre, Under Secretary & Executive Director, ICT Office, Department of Science and Technology (DOST), The Philippines reveals the key priorities and challenges for this year.
“Our focus has always been on ICT projects that impact and benefit multiple agencies,” said Casambre, whose team is working with the Department of Health (DOH) on getting the systems interoperable.
“The challenge we are facing now now is that many systems are operating independently. Data is stored in separate silos. The Health Information Exchange Layer project will provide the shared services layer by creating a common API across systems,” he said.
Electronic Local Government Units (eLGU) is another key initiative this year. “While many local government units see the value of e-government, they may not have the financial and human resources needed to implement certain systems,” explained Casambre.
The national government is investing in cloud services so that local government units can benefit from the latest technology resources without having to invest in expensive infrastructure.
TV White space
According to Casambre, the technology that presents the greatest opportunity for DOST is TV White Space. In a recent survey, the Department of Education (DepEd) found that 83 per cent of schools are situated in areas without an internet service provider.
“This figure gives a good picture of the actual connectivity rate across the country. How will citizens benefit from all the great ICT-enabled public services if they don’t even have access to the internet? We are working with the DepEd, DOH, Department of Social Welfare on leveraging TV White Space to deliver public services,” he added.
The Philippine government is creating a regulatory environment so that the infrastructure can be deployed by the private sector. TV White Space has proven to be effective for enabling communications during disaster recovery.
iGovPhil, a whole-of-government initiative, is one of DOST’s flagship projects to provide citizens with a secured digital signature so that they can communicate and transact with multiple agencies without having to register for each online service.
“There will be four basic registries: citizens, companies, land and transportation. The common registry will allow systems across different government departments to interconnect,” he commented.
The Philippine leadership is actively pushing for the civil service to adopt technology and deliver more ICT-enabled citizen services. “Over the next three years, the Government will be investing in 250,000 laptops for civil servants, including teachers. There are plans to roll out cloud-based thin client devices to replace PCs in government offices and training programmes to build up the skills of government employees,” Casambre concluded.