Press Release
September 28, 2019

Angara urges agencies to digitize to save on space

For a lot of agencies and institutions of the government, the requirement for them to keep certain documents for long periods of time has become a storage nightmare for them.

Most of these offices are already cramped as it is and the clutter of documents is only taking up precious space.

Senator Sonny Angara said that digitization may be the key to addressing this perennial problem because these documents would only increase over time.

"Marami sa mga ahensya ng gobyerno ay kailangang magtago ng kanilang mga dokumento. Sa ilang ahensya, tulad ng COA (Commission on Audit) at BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue), ang kanilang 'retention period' ay umaabot ng 10 taon. Talagang mapupuno ang opisina nila ng papeles dahil dito," Angara said.

During the hearing on the proposed P12.9 billion budget of the COA for 2020, COA Chairman Michael Aguinaldo noted how the agency has been struggling with its storage of these documents.

COA, with its job of auditing all government agencies and offices, inevitably collects a huge volume of documents that it has to keep for up to 10 years.

"It becomes a storage problem because as government gets bigger, more paper (is accumulated), wala pa masyadong nag auautomate so we're stuck with that. We also haven't been able to do digitization yet also because lack of budget," Aguinaldo said.

In order to address its storage issues, Aguinaldo said COA has to come up with innovative solutions such as having container vans repurposed for storage facilities.

The problem with storage is experienced in almost all government agencies and since putting up facilities just for this purpose would be very costly, Angara said the solution is to go digital.

"Digitization may cost a lot initially, but in the long run, it will mean more savings for offices. They no longer have to rent storage facilities or construct new structures to keep their documents. Access to these documents would also become easier and you can practically store these for a lifetime," Angara said.

Apart from digitization, Angara said that automation should also be embraced by all agencies as the way forward in terms of improving efficiency and productivity.

In the COA, Aguinaldo said a system is being developed to spot statistical anomalies in data.

"It will really make things more efficient and will allow our auditors to do more in terms of analysis as against manual work where you have little time left for actual analysis," Aguinaldo said.

With automation, Angara said it would also be easier to prevent fraud in government transactions such as the processing of claims made by deceased individuals from the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation.

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