Electronic Transactions in Government
Government Use of Data Messages, Electronic Documents and Electronic Signatures
SECTION 37. Government Use of Electronic Data Messages, Electronic Documents and Electronic Signatures. – Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, within two (2) years from the date of the effectivity of the Act, all departments, bureaus, offices and agencies of the government, as well as all government-owned and-controlled corporations, that pursuant to law require or accept the filing of documents, require that documents be created, or retained and/or submitted, issue permits, licenses or certificates of registration or approval, or provide for the method and manner of payment or settlement of fees and other obligations to the government, shall:
a) accept the creation, filing or retention of such documents in the form of electronic data messages or electronic documents;
b) issue permits, licenses, or approval in the form of electronic data messages or electronic documents;
c) require and/or accept payments, and issue receipts acknowledging such payments, through systems using electronic data messages or electronic documents; or
d) transact the government business and/or perform governmental functions using electronic data messages or electronic documents, and for the purpose, are authorized to adopt and promulgate, after appropriate public hearing and with due publication in newspapers of general circulation, the appropriate rules, regulations, or guidelines, to, among others, specify –
(1) the manner and format in which such electronic data messages or electronic documents shall be filed, created, retained or issued;
(2) where and when such electronic data messages or electronic documents have to be signed, the use of a electronic signature, the type of electronic signature required;
(3) the format of an electronic data message or electronic document and the manner the electronic signature shall be affixed to the electronic data message or electronic document;
(4) the control processes and procedures as appropriate to ensure adequate integrity, security and confidentiality of electronic data messages or electronic documents or records or payments;
(5) other attributes required of electronic data messages or electronic documents or payments; and
(6) the full or limited use of the documents and papers for compliance with the government requirements;
Provided, That the Act shall by itself mandate any department of the government, organ of state or statutory corporation to accept or issue any document in the form of electronic data messages or electronic documents upon the adoption, promulgation and publication of the appropriate rules, regulations, or guidelines. Nothing in the Act or the Rules authorizes any person to require any branch, department, agency, bureau, or instrumentality of government to accept or process electronic data messages; conduct its business; or perform its functions by electronic means, until the adoption, promulgation and publication of the aforementioned appropriate rules, regulations or guidelines. Such rules, regulations or guidelines as well as the underlying technologies utilized in the implementation of the Act and these Rules shall conform the principles set forth in the immediately succeeding section.
SECTION 38. Principles Governing Government Use of Electronic Data Messages, Electronic Documents and Electronic Signatures. – The following principles shall govern the implementation of Section 27 of the Act and shall be mandatory upon all departments, bureaus, offices and agencies of the government, as well as all government-owned and -controlled corporations:
a) Technology Neutrality. All solutions implemented shall neither favor a particular technology over another nor discriminate against or in favor of particular vendors of technology.
b) Interoperability. All implementation of technological solutions shall ensure the interoperability of systems forming part of the government network.
c) Elimination of Red Tape. Government processes shall be re-examined and if appropriate, simplified or re-engineered to maximize the functionality of technology and to eliminate unnecessary delays in the delivery of governmental services.
d) Security Measures. Government shall implement appropriate security measures to guard against unauthorized access, unlawful disclosure of information, and to ensure the integrity of stored information.
e) Auditability. All systems installed shall provide for an audit trail.
SECTION 39. Government Information System Plan (GISP). – It is hereby mandated that the GISP shall be adjusted, modified and amended to conform to the provisions and requirements of the Act, RPWEB and these Rules.
SECTION 40. RPWEB to Promote the Use of Electronic Documents and Electronic Data Messages in Government and to the General Public. – Within two (2) years from the effectivity of the Act, there shall be installed an electronic on-line network in accordance with Administrative Order 332 and House of Representatives Resolution 890, otherwise known as RPWEB, to implement Part IV of the Act to facilitate the open, speedy and efficient electronic on-line transmission, conveyance and use of electronic data messages or electronic documents amongst all government departments, agencies, bureaus, offices down to the division level and to the regional and provincial offices as practicable as possible, government-owned and -controlled corporations, local government units, other public instrumentalities, universities, colleges and other schools, and universal access to the general public.
The RPWEB network shall serve as initial platform of the government information infrastructure to facilitate the electronic on-line transmission and conveyance of government services to evolve and improve by better technologies or kinds of electronic on-line wide area networks utilizing, but not limited to, fiber optic, satellite, wireless and other broadband telecommunication mediums or modes.
SECTION 41. Implementing Agencies. – To facilitate the rapid development of the government information infrastructure, the Department of Transportation and Communications, National Telecommunications Commission and the National Computer Center shall in coordination with each other, promulgate the appropriate issuances in accordance with their respective mandate to aggressively formulate, promote and implement a policy environment and regulatory or non-regulatory framework that shall lead to the substantial reduction of costs of including, but not limited to, leased lines, land, satellite and dial-up telephone access, cheap broadband and wireless accessibility by government departments, agencies, bureaus, offices, government-owned and -controlled corporations, local government units, other public instrumentalities and the general public, to include the establishment of a government website portal and a domestic internet exchange system to facilitate strategic access to government and amongst agencies thereof and the general public and for the speedier flow of locally generated internet traffic within the Philippines.
SECTION 42. Cable Television and Broadcast as Telecommunications. – The physical infrastructure of cable and wireless systems for cable TV and broadcast excluding programming and content and the management thereof shall be considered as within the activity of telecommunications for the purpose of electronic commerce and to maximize the convergence of ICT in the installation of the government information infrastructure.
Delineation of Functions
SECTION 43. Delineation of Functions and Coordination by the DTI . – In the implementation of the Act, the following government agencies shall have the functions stated hereunder:
a) The Department of Trade and Industry shall:
(i) Supervise and coordinate the full implementation of Section 27 of the Act. For this purpose, all government agencies intending to comply with the said provision of law shall coordinate with the DTI in order to ensure adherence with the principles provided for in Section 38 of these Rules. Observance of all laws and regulations on public bidding, disbursements and other restrictions, including COA policies, shall be mandatory.
(ii) Install an on-line public information and quality and price monitoring system for goods and services aimed in protecting the interests of the consuming public availing of the advantages of the Act.
(iii) Establish a voluntary listing system for all businesses or entities involved in electronic commerce including, but not limited to, value-added service (VAS) providers as this term is understood in Republic Act No. 7925, banks, financial institutions, manufacturing companies, retailers, wholesalers, and on-line exchanges. The list of electronic commerce entities shall be maintained by the DTI and made available electronically to all interested parties.
(iv) Review, study and assess all legal, technical and commercial issues arising in the field of electronic commerce which may be directed to the DTI and if necessary, convene the appropriate government agencies in order to discuss, deliberate on and resolve the same and in the proper cases, promulgate additional rules and regulations to implement the Act.
b) The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas shall exercise and perform such functions as mandated under the Act including the promulgation of the rules and regulations to implement the provisions of the Act with respect to banks, quasi-banks, trust entities, and other institutions which under special laws are subject to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas supervision.
c) The Department of Budget and Management shall identify the fund source for the implementation of Sections 37, 39 and 40 of the Rules, consistent with the provisions of the annual General Appropriations Act, and in its capacity in managing the budget execution and accountability processes of government, shall be responsible for putting such core processes on-line.