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Janette Toral

Making gov't compliant to the E-Commerce Law

May 19, 2008 9:28pm
To say that a government agency is compliant to Republic Act 8792 or the E-Commerce Law means that the agency accepts electronic filing, issues electronic approval or permits, accepts electronic payment (for those that collect fees), and issues guidelines for the conduct of such with consultation with their constituency.

The last one is very important because it must be ensured that the e-commerce system that will be put up is usable and is a well-thought of project and is enshrined in an administrative order or memorandum circular of the specific agency.

The program must also be communicated to the entire organization, not only confined to its proponents. It must be ensured that the project will not get replaced by any new leadership that joins the agency.

Without all these in place, any e-government initiative will be unstable.

For quite sometime there was a confusion on how the project gets done, specifically the electronic payment part. High-revenue government agencies ended up having to negotiate with various departments and entities.

Other government agencies, however, whose revenue levels are not at par with the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Bureau of Customs, for example, have a harder time getting the terms and attention they want.

To resolve this, the Department of Finance and Department of Trade and Industry issued a joint department administrative order number 2 (JDAO #2) that prescribes policies and guidelines in the adoption of electronic payment and collection system in government.

All government agencies currently accepting electronic payment are given time up to October 2008 to comply with this guideline. Others who intend to accept electronic payment need to go through the process for proper accreditation. This uniform process intends to ensure that all bases are covered and the government gets the best deal.

There were efforts to have a single government payment system (Note that this project is No. 25) under the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT). I have reservations about its initial model, as the said entity has no mandate, in its executive order charter, nor the NCC for that matter, to collect and process payments on behalf of various government agencies.

Neither does that project have an executive order or administrative order that serves as basis for its undertaking, whereby about P137.7 million have been allotted under the e-government fund and is referred to as the NCC E-Government Portal project (Note that this project is No. 25).

The Philippines still has a long way to go with respect to the implementation of e-commerce in government. The private sector should remain vigilant in monitoring the various e-government initiatives and be vocal in expressing concern on its implementation.

This blog, in its own way, will look into the various ICT projects being undertaken in government and monitor its status. Should you have information to share, you can email me at digitalfilipino@gmail.com
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