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Go urges telcos to improve services to ease transition to e-governance

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Friday echoed President  Duterte’s call to telecommunications companies (telcos) to improve their services for Filipino consumers, saying that improving internet connectivity will help in the transition to e-governance.

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go (OFFICE OF SEN. BONG GO / MANILA BULLETIN)

The Senate is scheduled to conduct public hearings on bills seeking to set a minimum standard for internet speed in the country.

Senators Go and Grace Poe, chairwoman of the Senate Public Services Committee, explained that the Philippines still lags behind its neighbors when it comes to internet speed and access.

“I urge the private sector to help the government in uplifting the lives of Filipinos especially in these trying times. Now, more than ever, the people’s welfare must be prioritized over profits for a few,’’ he said. Unahin po natin ang kapakanan at interes ng ordinaryong Pilipino (Let’s prioritize the welfare and interest of the ordinary Filipinos.)

During his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, President Duterte demanded telecommunications companies to improve their services in the next months. 

The President also emphasized the need to maximize information and communications technology in order for the country to transition to e-governance and help the public adapt to e-commerce, e-learning and other online-based transactions that are crucial given the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to the people’s regular activities. 

“Ang e-governance ay makakatulong upang maiwasan ang red tape. Walang matutulog na dokumento, at walang mahabang pila na parusa sa taong bayan,’’ Go said. (E-governance will help in avoiding red tape and long queues that have burdened the people.)

“Tulad ng sabi ng Pangulo, panahon na para mawala ang pangangailangan na pumila para mapagsilbihan ng gobyerno,’’ he added. (As what the President said, it’s time to eliminate the need to form long lines just to get services from the government.)

Go cited the 2020 Inclusive Internet Index which reveals the country’s sorry situation in terms of internet availability and affordability, among other indicators.

“Kahit ako nga nahihirapan sa internet connection. ‘Yung mga Senate sessions, hearings at meetings ngayon ay virtual na bilang pagsunod sa social distancing measures. Apektado ang trabaho kapag mabagal at hindi reliable ang ating internet connection,’’ he explained. (I also have difficulties in getting internet connection. Senate sessions, hearings, and meetings are now being done virtually in compliance with the social distancing measures. Works are affected if our internet connection is slow and unreliable.)

“Gandahan sana ang serbisyo pagdating sa access to the internet upang matulungan ang mga taong mamuhay sa panahon ng ‘new normal,’’ he added. (Improve the services when it comes to access to the internet in order to help the people live during the ‘new normal.)

Go also decried the fact that even countries like Zimbabwe and war-torn Syria have faster internet speeds than the Philippines, as shown in the latest Speedtest Global Index study.

He said that for the country’s learning continuity plan as well as efforts to jumpstart the economy, to be a success, speedy and reliable internet connection is vital.

The senator from Davao also mentioned that the call of the President for government processes to transition to e-governance will require improvements in the country’s internet quality, investments in ICT equipment, and the public’s access and awareness in utilizing such technologies to improve their lives. 

Last July 27, Go filed a measure institutionalizing the transition of the government to e-governance in the digital age amid the current challenges caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Senate Bill (SB) 1738, or the E-Governance Act of 2020, mandates the government to establish 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 reiterated the benefits of prioritizing the transition to e-governance platforms, saying this will reduce red tape and corruption, and improve efficiency and productivity of government processes. 

He emphasized that having a transparent, efficient, and responsive delivery of government services is key to reducing corruption and empowering the people to exact accountability from public servants.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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