Bureaucracy review needed
Peter Wallace’s column, “DICT is not addition” (Opinion, 2/6/14), deserves attention by our leaders. Not that I conclusively agree with the idea of setting up an agency dedicated solely to technology, namely a Department of Information and Communications Technology, but Wallace has certainly cited quite succinctly the reason for the creation of such. Indeed, digitalization seems inevitable both in e-government and e-governance. Bureaucracy and the operations of government increasingly become unimaginable without the technology. But that is beside the point.
What struck me more in Wallace’s column is the dire need for a review of the bureaucracy. We do need a review not just of the executive branch (although this is at the heart of governance under a presidential system such as ours) but especially because we need a coherence of our institutions. Our institutions should find better coordination, complementation and harmonization of functions, procedures and operation to reduce inefficiency and sluggishness and, in the language of dynamic governance, to promote agile processes.
Strategic direction of our system is the key idea. Some months ago, through a concept paper sent to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), I hinted at the need for a strategic view and approach to our public institutions and suggested some initial steps toward this direction. Why the DBM? Because it is the core agency that is responsible for moving things on the institutional management side. Of course, there’s also the assumption that the DBM is the “belly of the dragon” and that it can steer the required partnership among the other executive agencies. The strategic direction of institutions also requires the engagement of the legislature as it may be necessary to tweak things through legislation or oversight. Of course, there’s also the reason that there are many policies and laws that sorely need review, not only for the purpose of coherence but also for effective enforcement and realistic updating of policies.
—EDNA E. A. CO, professor,
University of the Philippines
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