Mong Palatino

blogging about the philippine left and southeast asian politics since 2004


@mongster is a manila-based activist, former philippine legislator, and blogger/analyst of asia-pacific affairs.

The Philippine government subscribes to the UN-ASPA Four Stages of E-Governance: Stage 1 – Emerging Web Presence (website that contains basic information and contact details about the government agency). Stage 2 – Enhanced Web Presence (websites that are regularly updated and have a working search function). Stage 3 – Interactive Web Presence (websites that have web-based databases and feedback forms). Stage 4 – Transactional Web Presence (citizens can conduct complete and secured transactions online).

Out of 324 National Government Agencies, 294 have web presence. About 95 have interactive websites and only 15 have transactional websites. Based on President Gloria Arroyo’s 2009 State of the Nation Address Technical Report, 30 national agencies have no web presence.

Based on the same report, 68 State Universities and Colleges have web presence. Of this number, 29 are interactive websites, 29 are enhanced websites, and 10 schools have emerging web presence. It is quite surprising to learn that 42 state colleges have no web presence. Again, we have 42 public colleges which have no online presence! How do these schools advertise their curricular offerings? How do they disseminate information to students and faculty? How do they update the public about university activities and programs? What is so difficult in creating a simple website that contains basic information about the school?

There are 33 government agencies offering frontline services that have web portals. An example is the e-Serbisyo program for passport processing and PhilHealth membership application. There is also an e-Bayad program which allows citizens to process their payments for public services online. Through the m-Governance program, about 50 agencies have short messaging facility which provides a mechanism for the public to send their feedback to government agencies through text.

What is the status of the e-LGU Development Program? As of January 29, 2009, about 1,688 LGUs, or 99 percent of the total number of LGUs in the country, have web presence. Of this number, 1,120 are Stage 1 websites and only 115 are Stage 3 websites. There are 17 LGUs which have no websites. More than 103 Community e-Centers were established for remote local villages. The Philippine CeC Web Portal for LGUs was designed to promote local products online.

It is positive that most government agencies, whether national or local, have established web presence. But most of these websites are emerging websites. They contain only very basic information about the agency (and they are not regularly updated). There is little or no interactivity with website visitors. It is best if most agencies have transactional websites.

The e-governance report should also include a qualitative assessment of government websites. These web portals should be constantly reviewed by experts and the public to improve online transactions. The security features of public web portals should be strengthened. It was recently reported that the Comelec website was hacked a few days ago. The m-Governance program should be enhanced to serve the needs of 56 million mobile phone users in the country.

Government agencies should strive to offer the best online services to our citizens. Improving the country’s digital infrastructure can generate enthusiasm among investors and the public in general. But these expensive modernization projects should be transparent. Remember the botched NBN-ZTE deal?

Online work

I cannot blog everyday. I cannot tweet and plurk all my activities. I only open my Facebook account twice a month. I open my Friendster once a month. For updates about Kabataan Partylist, please visit our official website. To learn tidbits about our Congress work, follow @kabataancrew on Twitter.

I cannot blog everyday. As much as possible, I post 1-2 blog articles a week. But it is impossible for me to blog everyday. I am still familiarizing myself with Congress work. I have so many documents and government reports to read and criticize everyday. I attend committee hearings (and budget hearings too) which demand my full concentration. Our sessions start at 4pm and usually end around 8pm. If there are no work-related events in the evening, I devote my time and remaining energy to my family. I have two children.

I read blogs and online news articles in the morning. I write my speeches and conduct my online research in the morning too. If there is a committee hearing, I am already in Congress around 10am. I check my email in the session hall.

Before the budget season, Thursdays and Fridays are usually reserved to meet our constituents. I visit schools and communities in Metro Manila. Sometimes I attend meetings in our HQ. I go to the provinces during weekends. I usually tweet while I’m out of town. Thank you gmail for that offline feature of your email service.

I promise to improve the design and lay-out of this blog during our session break next month.

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One Response to “eGovernance”

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    Mong Palatino » Blog Archive » The Disappearing Real in the Virtual

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