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Instilling the Right Governance Values with Technology
Source: www.futuregov.asia
Source Date: Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Focus: Knowledge Management in Government
Created: Apr 11, 2013

“ICT is not and should not be considered a ‘one size fits all’ solution to governance reforms. While technology can indeed make things better and faster, it’s not as if corruption and ineptitude in a certain agency will disappear after we digitise our business processes,” said Richard Moya, Undersecretary and CIO of the Department of Budget and Management in the Philippines. 

He made the comment during his opening keynote address at the third FutureGov Forum Philippines event, which is taking place today, 10 April, in New World Hotel, Makati City. 

The event, organised by FutureGov Asia Pacific Magazine, brings together more than 120 senior decision-makers from the Philippine Government and several thought leaders from around the region to share experiences and discuss common challenges surrounding government modernisation. 

“We are aware that ICT is a value-neutral tool that may, at worst, be used to promote and embed corruption and inept governance. That’s why it’s important to make sure ICT-driven reforms are deeply rooted in strong governance values.” 

“Transparency over opacity; accountability over impunity; efficiency over redundancy; agility over red tape; collaboration over turfing; and citizen’s participation over exclusivity — these are the values which should serve as the backbone of all our efforts,” he said. 

To highlight the Government’s commitment to leverage technology as a key enabler of its good governance agenda, Moya identified four on-going projects under his agency which aim to improve the efficiency, accountability and transparency in Philippine Public Financial Management. 

•The Medium-Term Information and Communications Technology Harmonisation Initiative (MITHI) aims to unite disparate ICT systems in the government through a systematic, collaborative and strategy-driven process for the planning, budgeting, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of government ICT projects. 
“Through the years, governance has suffered in spite of—and maybe even because of—the kind of IT systems that we have. Differing systems and restricted-access databases have been a symptom of chronic turfing and silo mentality in government,” he said. 

With MITHI, Moya hopes the Government can facilitate a new culture of openness, collaboration and cooperation to help central and local agencies achieve a shared vision towards a more efficient and accountable government. 

•The Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS) serves as the primary and definitive source of information on government procurement. 

“PhilGEPS has been around for more than 10 years. It has been lauded internationally and even used by countries like Indonesia, Vietnam, Nepal and Uganda as a benchmark for their plans to build their own central e-procurement systems; and it is something that we are now seeking to expand and to give more value.” 

•The Government Integrated Financial Management Information Systems (GIFMIS) seeks to harmonise all financial management systems across the national government. It aims to automate all routine financial processes of the national government such as budgeting, treasury operations, accounting and audit. In addition, it is a key component of the Philippine Financial Management Reform Roadmap 2011-2015. 
“In the past, oversight agencies such as the Department of Budget and Management, the Commission on Audit and the Department of Finance would require their own reporting formats, using their own account codes, from implementing agencies, causing multiple and duplicate reporting flows.” 

“Through GIFMIS, we are hoping that government agencies that once worked separately using their own financial management systems will finally collaborate using a singular standard for accountability,” he said. 

•Budget ng bayan (People’s Budget) is a portal that gives relevant information on how the budget is crafted, the spending distributions and the governance philosophies behind government projects. 
“It is an assertion that, first and foremost, it is the people who own the budget of the government, and the government itself. The portal thrives in the use of interactive web-based infographics to make the budget process more understandable.” 

“This is where I would say that ICT will not be ICT with just the ‘I’ for information and ‘T’ for Technology. It is the ‘C’, I believe, which should be in the middle, which should always be at the core of ICT. ‘C’ is for communication: it stands for interaction; of people relating to each other using technology, of enabling them to get the right information seamlessly and breaking down silo mentality in organisations,” he said. “At the end of the day, the very heart and core of ICT reforms should be centered on how the government can best serve the citizens and ensure that they are benefiting from the fruits of innovation.” 

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