Press Release
May 18, 2022

Bong Go hails EO adopting digital payments for gov't disbursements, collections; continues to advocate for E-Governance bill

Stressing anew the importance of financial transaction digitalization in the country, Senator Christopher "Bong" Go commended President Rodrigo Duterte for ordering the adoption of digital payments for government disbursements and collections.

Issued on Thursday, May 12, Executive Order 170 directs all departments, agencies and instrumentalities of the government, including state universities and colleges and government-owned or -controlled corporations, to adopt digital payments for their respective disbursements and collections. Local government units are also enjoined to do the same.

From the start, Go has been pushing for the digitalization of the financial management operations in the government to improve transparency and efficiency in the use of public funds.

"Isa pong paraan para ma-improve talaga ang transparency at efficiency sa government transactions and utilization of public funds ay ang paggamit ng digital platforms," the senator said.

Under EO 170, all agencies are mandated to utilize safe and efficient digital disbursement in the payment of goods, services and other disbursements, including in the distribution of financial assistance, as well as in the payment of salaries, wages, allowances and other compensation to employees.

Agencies are likewise directed to offer a digital mode of collecting payments for taxes, fees, tolls, and other charges and impositions.

The EO allows covered agencies to disburse funds directly into the transaction accounts of recipients or beneficiaries, whether held in government or private financial institutions, without need of a special arrangement from the financial institution concerned.

In addition, the agencies are tasked to adopt a business continuity plan to prepare for calamities and other emergencies where digital payments may not be affected.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the benefits of utilizing digital payment services across various sectors, as it enabled a fast, convenient, secure and transparent mode of delivering government services and transacting business," the order read.

Go similarly observed that the COVID-19 pandemic "underscored the gaps, both foreseen and unforeseen, in the delivery of government services in the country."

The senator has early on stressed the crucial role that the government must play in the digital era transition. This led him to file Senate Bill No. 1738, to be known as the E-Governance Act, in 2020.

"In an age where almost everything can be done online and through other digital platforms, the government must harness the power of information and communications technology to better serve its purpose and bring the government closer to the people," Go said.

"We need e-governance to provide our people with the services they need from the comfort of their homes or workplaces. Not only shall it enable our bureaucracy to better transition into the 'new normal' but it will also cut or minimize red tape and corruption," he added.

SBN 1738 provides for the establishment of an integrated, interconnected, and interoperable information and resource-sharing and communications network spanning the entirety of the national and local government, an internal records management information system, an information database, and digital portals for the delivery of public services.

Go maintained that his proposed measure will accelerate the digital transformation by removing the delays and other issues that come with traditional governance in communications, resource sharing, and information sharing.

More importantly, Go stressed that, through e-governance, the public will feel that the government is actually and truly at their fingertips.

"Nagbabago na po ang panahon. Meron na tayong makabagong pamamaraan ng pamumuhay. Meron na tayong makabagong teknolohiya. Hindi dapat nagpapahuli ang ating gobyerno. In fact, the government should spearhead the country's transition to the digital age," the senator said.

"As we work towards pandemic recovery, the transition to e-governance becomes crucial, particularly the digitalizing of government processes. Nandyan na ang internet bagamat kailangan rin itong maimprove pa. Meron na tayong teknolohiya na available sa atin. Gamitin natin para makatulong sa pagbangon ng bansa mula dito sa krisis na ito at sa patuloy na pag-unlad," he added.

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