by Claire R. Gigje
MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur (PIA)–The Municipality of Piagapo in Lanao del Sur province became the pioneer local government unit to relish the newly advanced digitalization in the entire Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
This, as the Ministry of the Interior and Local Government (MILG) together with the provincial government of Lanao del Sur, the municipal government of Piagapo, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched, May 31, the first-ever Digital Bangsamoro Center in the region under the Localized E-Governance for the Accelerated Provision of Services (LEAPS) Program.
MILG Operation Management Services Director Fausiah Romancap-Abdula said the establishment of the digital center was not easy, as it took them two years for it to happen due to the coronavirus disease (COVID)-19 pandemic and some internal challenges like changes in service providers and the procurement of hardware and other equipment.
With the realization of their effort, she stressed that this would now denote the beginning of addressing the digital necessities and the fulfillment of their ultimate goal, which is to pursue a highly trusted governance inclined toward co-creation and bring meaningful services towards digital transformation to attain an empowered Bangsamoro.
Abdula said they initially opened two services, including the acquisition of business permits and civil registry documents such as birth certificates. These would, accordingly, be simplified to become seamless, efficient, and easy to access by the constituents.
The #BangsamoroDigital Center is launched in Piagapo, Lanao del Sur, under the Localized E-Governance for the Accelerated Provision of Services (LEAPS) Program. This is an initiative pushed by the Ministry of the Interior and Local Government, and the United Nations Development Programme in partnership with the provincial government of Lanao del Sur, municipal government of Piagapo. (PIA-10/Lanao del Sur)
“We hope to further foster and inspire transformation in service delivery practice. Ultimately, we want government services to be accessible to the people in the region, especially those who are less privileged and marginalized, as we empower them for e-governance,” she said.
Abdula, nonetheless, assured that the regional government, through the MILG and UNDP would give full support until all needed services were ready to be availed of by the locals.
Meanwhile, UNDP Resident Representative to the Philippines Dr. Selva Ramachandran conveyed that while the establishment of the digital center in Piagapo town is the first in BARMM, this would not be the last time that such an effort would be pushed.
He underscored that this was the product of their recognition that the government needs to deliver digitalized services, enable access to interventions and social protection, and do so in functional, transparent, accountable, and effective ways.
Ramachandran stated that the world is now on the road to digitalization, and they must find ways to ensure that those hard-to-reach societies and vulnerable areas can keep pace.
“Now more than ever, we need to use the digital lives that we have to better the lives of the people whom we serve. We need to make these digital tools inclusive and accessible to all,” he said.
Ramachandran also reiterated their prime mission, which is to achieve digital development in BARMM that would leave no one behind and significantly accelerate the connectivity in communities to enable citizens to capitalize on the benefits of digitalization. (CRG/PIA-10/Lanao del Sur)