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Pursuant to the mandate of Republic Act No. 8792 Section 34, otherwise known as the Electronic Commerce Act, the Philippine Government now recognizes the vital role of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in nation building - that is, the necessity to create an information-friendly environment which supports and ensures the availability, diversity and affordability of ICT products and services. It features the government allowing equal and transparent access to public domain information in the interest of public service.

Also, Section 3 of the said Act states, "government intervention, when required shall promote a stable legal environment allowing a fair allocation of scarce resources and protect public interest. Such intervention shall be no more than is essential and should be clear, transparent, objective, and non-discriminatory. Proportional, flexible, and technological neutral. Mechanisms for private sector input and involvement in policy making shall be promoted and widely used."

Consequently, the private sector is expected to contribute investments and services in ICR by primarily developing, with appropriate training programs and institutional policy changes, human resources competent in the use of ICT. This includes the capacity to operate and utilize electronic appliances and computers; promotion and transfer of technology; ensure network security, connectivity and neutrality of technology; and to marshal, organize and deploy national information infrastructures in both communications network and strategic information services, with the necessary and appropriate legal, financial, diplomatic and technical framework, systems and facilities.

As provided in Section 4 of the Act, E-Governance will operate in this manner-that any dealings, transactions, arrangements, contracts and exchanges and storage of information through the utilization of electronic, optical and similar medium mode, instrumentality and technology to recognize the authenticity and reliability of electronic documents related to such activities and to promote the universal use of electronic transactions in the government and by the general public would be the program's main focus. Some forms of its application are online public information and cultural resources, databases for health services, government agencies' websites at local, regional and national levels, and online public libraries and databases.

In this regard, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), together with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the National Computer Center (NCC) and the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) and other government and academic institutions, is putting effort to set up and implement the provisions of the E-Commerce Act to Local Government Units (LGUs) throughout the country, especially those in far-flung areas, via the convergence of public and private sector's ICT in providing and disseminating vital public information to their constituents in a faster and more convenient way, which is dubbed as the E-Governance Program for LGUs.



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