The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) on Thursday said the government hopes to improve its standing in the E-Government Development Index, aiming to reach the top 20 out of 193 United Nations (UN) member states from its current ranking at 89th.

The government plans to do so through the DICT’s 37 priority projects for e-government, said David L. Almirol, a department undersecretary.

“We are not only telling stories here. We are putting timelines to our tasks,” he said at a Digital Pilipinas event on Thursday.

“We need to keep up with Singapore, Australia, and other e-government-enabled countries,” he added.

In the E-Government Development Index 2022, the Philippines fell 12 places to 89th out of 193 UN member states. The index measures the readiness and capacity of national institutions to utilize information and communications technologies (ICTs) for providing public services.

The DICT said that out of the 37 e-government priority projects, it has already launched six in the past ten months: eLGU, eTravel, eGovPay, eGovCloud, eReport, and the eGovPH App.

Among the other projects for 2023 are eKYC and eVisa, with several more planned between 2024 and 2026. These include eTourism, eBusiness, eHealth, eApostille, eLearning, ePassport, and eCommerce.

More than 200 local government units (LGUs) have already automated their process under eLGU since its launch in December, with 450 more LGUs with ongoing implementations, according to the DICT.

eLGU will be included in the eGovernment Act, Mr. Almirol said. “It will not be an option anymore; LGUs will need to adopt it.”

Among the upcoming features to be launched for the eGovPH App is a mechanism that notifies the nearest police station whenever a citizen reports a crime. Additionally, discussions are underway with the Department of Trade and Industry to incorporate an e-commerce platform within the app to promote local products.

Hjayceelyn M. Quintana, ambassador and permanent representative of the Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), said that digitalization is at the top of the agenda in ASEAN.

“It’s very important that the private sector and the public sector are now helping each other,” she said at the same event, where the Permanent Mission and Digital Pilipinas signed a partnership. “We are not just saying what needs to be done. We are doing it already.” — Patricia B. Mirasol