A private-sector think tank said that Congress must approve a higher budget for the digitalization of the bureaucracy for 2021 to enable the government to efficiently deliver better services.

Stratbase ADR Institute President Prof. Dindo Manhit explained in a recent forum titled “Fighting the Pandemic of Corruption” that the government should utilize digital technology as a “critical element” for recovery strategy.

The Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM) final budget proposal to the Congress, however, showed a stale budget for 2021, as it only allocated P11 billion to the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT).

From the DICT’s budget proposal of P44.6 billion, it was trimmed down to about the same as this year’s budget, Manhit pointed out.

The agency’s original requested budget for digital government and digital education and workforce program was P22 billion, but the DBM only approved 2.5 billion.

Manhit said that it is far from what President Rodrigo Duterte stated in his budget message that the government would allocate P21.4 billion for the government’s overall digital transformation next year.

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