Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Goverment information using mobile phones: Are we ready yet?

Text capital of the world - that has been claimed for the Philippines. In the recent age of digital technology, tech-curious Pinoys grappled over various new media gadgets such as cellular phones and the internet. Pinoys sought cellphones for personal messages, or for business. From a lowly laundrywoman to the CEO of the largest company, cellphones are found to be useful, cheap and convenient.

The Philippine government attempts to utilize the mobile phones through the E-commerce Law . M-government, as one of the components of e-government, sets the
whole world in utilizing mobile technologies to communicate government actions and concerns (Signo, et. al, 2004). Adopting this new scheme, the Philippine National Police (PNP) created the TEXT 2920 service where, mobile phones are used to report crimes and other community concerns. A paper entitled PNP TEXT 2920 SERVICE: A Communication Perspective on M-Government in the Philippine Context presented in two international conferences held in South Korea and recently, in Chennai India, analyzed how m-government, a component of e-government services, utilizes the mobile phones to inform Filipinos on government services and programs. The existing PNP Text 2920 was studied using survey methods, focused interviews with mobile phone users and Philippine National Police key informants.

The study showed low information and awareness among mobile phone users (40%). Almost 60% of the respondents said that they are hesitant to use the PNP Text 2920. Further on, according to the study, "there are elements that should be studied to make PNP TEXT 2920 efficiently and effectively utilized. These elements include the institutional capacity of the PNP in mgovernment and the public impact on the program. Technological requirements should be satisfied first so as the smooth implementation of the program. The PNP’s drive for implementation should also be strengthened. A tri-media campaign is also deemed necessary for a massive information
campaign of the program" (Signo, et. al, 2004).

Conclusion:
Government attempts in using e-government - or using new media technologies for information dissemination, policy making, strategic implementation and any government concern can be effective and efficient means in building relationships with the citizenry. Cellphones are the best media to start building relationships. However, related issues such as broadband deals and cybered were subjected to corruption issues. The high amount of budget for government infrastructure is indeed questionable. The Philippine NAtional Police's implementation of their text service is one example of how unready government infrastructure in implementing these devices. The failure to satisfy technology requirements and the failure for a massive information dissemination were examples of how poor government is in implementing their communication strategies. Thus, it is our role, as communication advocates, to continue producing scientific data and recommending strategies on institutions like the government can apply and maximize their projects and programs. And ultimately, eliminate corruption.

Reference: Buenaventura V., de la Rosa M., Domingo, E., Signo C, Valera I. (2005). PNP Text 2920: A Communication Perspective on M-government in the Philippine Context. A paper presented in the CPRsouth, Chennai India, 15 December 2007.

1 comment:

meggi said...

Is this a concrete example that the Philippine government has lack of knowledge with regards to technology? Maybe true, because the government appeals to be ignorant about new innovations when corruption is on the side of almost every project. But if only the allotted budget for every department was utilized properly and all probable self satisfying urges had been set aside, most likely project such as PNP TEXT 2920 SERVICE and others would have been successful.
The last line of this post is a must. How? Solution-driven studies were made by communication advocates and many other similar groups but still the people involved should do the next steps. We have actually made the baby steps for them they must walk as grown-ups to finish it.