Corruption is likely to remain a problem in public transactions unless the government implements full digitalization of its services, Senator Win Gatchalian said.
“No matter what you do, no matter how many people you fire or investigate, the only way to eliminate corruption is through digitalization. If you don’t digitalize, you won’t eliminate corruption. Red tape and corruption are twins: If there’s corruption, there’s red tape, if there’s red tape, then there’s corruption,” Gatchalian said at the recent Ease of Doing Business Convention organized by the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA).
According to him, incidence of red tape leading to corruption could rise ahead of the Christmas and New Year breaks as people are likely to rush the completion of services they need from the government.
“Inaasahang dadami na naman ang katiwalian sa gobyerno, lalo na ngayong malapit na ang Christmas break at marami ang nagmamadaling matapos ang mga transaksyon. Kailangang maging huwaran ang mga nagtatrabaho sa gobyerno sa tapat na paglilingkod upang mawakasan na ang kultura ng kickback o lagay,” he added.
Reiterating the necessity of full digitalization, Gatchalian called for such action, noting that red tape hinders the country from reaching its full potential. He previously filed Senate Bill 685, or the Full Digital Transformation Act, mandating the full digital transformation of all government agencies, offices, and corporations, including local government units by 2025. The proposed measure also imposes penalties and liabilities on public officers and employees who continuously refuse or unwarrantedly delay the adoption of digitization efforts without any justifiable reason.
Gatchalian recalled that when he was a new mayor in Valenzuela City, he embarked on a plan to weed out corruption by digitalizing public services.
“We encountered sabotage every time we tried to digitalize. There was a lot of resistance to digitalization, but we had to push through. We needed to be determined to push digitalization because we knew that nothing would happen if we don’t digitalize,” he said.