THE head of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) strongly believes legislative reforms can help accelerate the government's digitalization program.
“A lot of our regulations and laws were designed for the past industrial age. We are now in the fourth industrial age and there are a lot of things happening that cannot be addressed by archaic laws that tie our hands and restrict us from moving forward,” DICT Secretary Ivan John Enrile Uy said during an interview on SMNI's “Business and Politics,” a weekly program hosted by The Manila Times Chairman Dante “Klink” Ang 2nd.
One such law is the “Government Procurement Reform Act” (Republic Act 9184), which Uy said was designed to “procure papers and pencils.”
RA 9184 “is not designed to manage services, accessing cloud storage services. It is a square-peg-in-a-round-hole situation,” he said.
Whenever the DICT holds bidding for technology-enabled projects, “we are restricted by these archaic laws,” Uy said.
He said the government's auditing system also needs to be reformed to remove “old paradigms” that do not conform anymore to new technologies.
Uy said one bright point is that there is a set of very young legislators who are “very forward-looking, who understand the power of technology-enabled workforce and technology-empowered governance and digitalization of our economy.”
He said he had several “amazing” meetings with some lawmakers during the past two months to discuss the various aspects of digitalization.
“I was happy when I sat down with them. We were all on the same page, and they fully understand the reforms that need to be done,” he said.
In the past, it had been a challenge convincing the more senior members of Congress to adapt to technological changes.
“But today we have a different group. These are young, very energetic, very passionate, very patriotic. The sense of patriotism is very contagious,” he said.
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