THE Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said it is working with the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) to encourage other government agencies to start accepting electronic signatures on official documents after the public health emergency.

In a statement, the DICT said it is currently collaborating with ARTA “to lead other government agencies, by example, towards the adoption of digital signatures in order to facilitate public service continuity and ease of doing business.”

The department said it has offered ARTA Director-General Jeremiah B. Belgica “the use of one of its core services, the Philippine National Public Key Infrastructure (PNPKI), for ARTA’s key personnel to secure their own digital signatures.”

In a letter to Mr. Belgica, Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II said: “We respectfully offer this service to ARTA as we believe they are the most suitable agency to advocate for the use of digital signatures with their mandate to promote public trust and efficiency in the delivery of public services.”

“We believe that integrating information and communications technology in government service is the best way to prepare for the digital demands of the ‘new normal’,” he added.

The DICT noted that President Rodrigo R. Duterte issued a directive to ease transaction requirements during the pandemic.

“The adoption of digital signatures also complements the ARTA’s Advisory Nos. 1 and 2, s. 2020, which called on government entities to fast-track public transactions through alternative online procedures and the use of e-signatures for official documents,” the DICT added.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) applied such measures in March during the Luzon lockdown.

The SEC announced that it will accept corporate filings with electronic signatures even if unnotarized and sent through e-mail during the lockdown period. — Arjay L. Balinbin