PH embassies urged to study state programs of host countries

November 4, 2022 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 274 views

CAMARINES Sur Representative and Commission on Appointments (CA) Majority Floor Leader LRay Villafuerte said he wants Philippine embassies to study up on well-run state programs in their respective host countries that could serve as feasible models for priority initiatives that the government is set to carry out on the Marcos watch.

In the committee hearing prior to the recent confirmation of several presidential appointees, Villafuerte suggested to the country’s appointed ambassadors to the Federative Republic of Brazil and the Kingdom of Belgium to find out more about projects in these countries that the Marcos administration has counterparts to, and then to inform Malacañang and the Congress on how the government could possibly replicate the success of these overseas endeavors.

For Brazil, Villafuerte told Ambassador Joseph Gerard Bacani Angeles to study the zero-hunger program that was launched in that South American country in 2003 and to see what features in this Brazilian initiative could likely be adopted in the implementation of President Marcos’ food security and poverty reduction agenda.

The president of the National Unity Party (NUP), Villafuerte, pointed out that the elimination of hunger is on top of the President’s concerns, considering that Mr. Marcos had pitched in his nine-day working visit to the United States (US) his vision for transforming the Philippines into an upper middle-income economy where there is “not one more hungry Filipino.”

As for Belgium, Villafuerte proposed to Ambassador Jaime Victor Badillo Ledda to brush up on the system of e-governance in that West European country and find out what features might be carried out locally, given that lawmakers, including him, are pushing the E-Government bill, in support of the President’s priority program on digital transformation.

The E-Gov’t measure is one of the 30 priority bills listed by Malacañang and Congress as their common legislative agenda during the meeting of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac) last October 10, the first time it was convened by President Marcos Jr.

Later, keynoting the National Information and Communications Technology Summit 2022 on Oct. 26, President Marcos called anew on Congress to consolidate the pending E-Government and E-Governance bills and pass the unified measure soon enough to “ensure fast, transparent and efficient government service for the Filipinos.”

The President bared that he found “worrying” the outcome of the United Nations (UN) E-Government Survey, where the Philippines ranked 89th of 193 surveyed countries. “I have asked them (lawmakers) to bring it (consolidated bill) out as quickly as they possibly can so that we have the framework with which we will digitalize our government, which we will digitalize our bureaucracy,” he said.

At the CA hearing on Ledda’s appointment, Villafuerte put forward to the ambassador the idea of “finding out the best government practices in a country where you’re positioned. I’ve been pushing for e-governance, my E-Government Act, since the 17th Congress. Why? Because, I think—we’re a country with 7,100 islands—and we can empower our people by having their government close to them.”

In Camarines Sur, for example, he said, people need to travel for hours and spend over P1,000 to go to Naga City to have their government documents processed. “And based on my research, Belgium has one of the world’s top e-governance best practice,” and where 51% of Belgians have online transactions with their government.