With the switch to online transactions for practically everything these days, a proposal to establish a mobile app that will consolidate the frontline services of government agencies like the LTO, PRC and the PSA, becomes more relevant.
Filed last February yet before there were any quarantine restrictions, House Bill 6303 authored by Deputy Speaker Pablo John Garcia of Cebu’s third district proposes the setting up of TUGMA, the Transcendent Unified Government Mobile Application, where people can apply and pay for the renewal of licenses, issuance of permits and certificates and access information for research under one portal.
“I filed this before the CoVid-19 outbreak. The lockdown proves that it is urgent that this bill is passed,” Garcia said in a statement.
It will consolidate the existing infrastructure of the different government agencies into a comprehensive application.
With one app, Filipinos can apply and pay for the renewal of their drivers’ and professional licenses with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), request and pay for the issuance of birth and marriage certificates from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), and set an appointment with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for passport renewal, among other services.
It will set common standards for all existing and future government apps that will be included in the TUGMA so that they offer “a rich user-friendly multimedia experience filled with resources on major frontline government services focusing on open data and content, user-friendliness, ease of data exchange, and user safety and privacy,” Garcia said in the bill’s explanatory note.
To head the steering committee for the creation of the TUGMA are the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the PSA and the National Privacy Commission.
Garcia cited a study by Statista, a German statistics company, that found that in September 2019, there were about 36.35 million users of smartphones in the Philippines or about one smartphone for every three Filipinos. Two social media agencies from Canada and the UK also found that in 2018, Filipinos averaged about 10 hours a day online.
The bill has passed first reading and has been referred to the committee on information and communications technology. (PR)