Elizabeth Yap, Assistant Secretary, Department of Public Works and Highways, Philippines

Women in GovTech Special Report 2016.

How do you use technology to improve citizens' lives? Tell us about your role or organisation. The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is one of the three departments of the government undertaking major infrastructure projects. The DPWH is mandated to undertake the planning of infrastructure, such as national roads and bridges, flood control, water resources projects and other public works. It is also responsible for the design, construction, and maintenance of national roads and bridges, and major flood control systems. As the Assistant Secretary for Support Services, I assist the Undersecretary for Support Services in the overall supervision and control over the Human Resource and Administrative Service, the Finance Service, the Information Management Service, and the Procurement Service. What has been the most exciting thing that you worked on in 2016? The nationwide expansion in the implementation of the Document Tracking System (DoTS) to over 180 District Engineering Offices of the DPWH. DoTS is an application system that functions as an electronic routing slip. This was developed to ensure the prompt processing of documents and to ensure that the first in-first out policy is complied with by the offices and persons involved, thus levelling the playing field for all stakeholders. I facilitated workshops to streamline the review process, shorten the processing time for each activity and identify the minimum required supporting documents. By defining in the system the prescribed processing time for documents, it enabled the fast tracking policy of the DPWH. The use of DoTS has significantly improved the processing time for civil works, consultancy, and goods and services payment claims in the Central Office. Thus, the system has been expanded to the Regional Offices and eventually to the District Engineering Offices. In May 2014, the DoTS Online was implemented. DoTS Online enables the external stakeholders, i.e., contractors, consultants and suppliers, to view the status of their payments via the internet. They do not have to come to DPWH to follow-up on their transactions. They can view it anytime from where they are. This new feature is translated into efficiency, convenience, and economy (in time, effort and money) for both our external stakeholders and DPWH, particularly in terms of follow-up of payment claims. What tool or technique particularly interests you for 2017? I am particularly interested in the Document Management System (DMS). The DMS can complement the existing DoTS by facilitating the submission of supporting documents. All contract and project related documents can be uploaded into the DMS. During the processing of billings, the action officer will check if the required documents (e.g. Completion Certificate, Final Inspection Certificate) exists in the DMS and issue a corresponding certification without requiring the contractor, consultant, or supplier to resubmit the document. If you were to share one piece of advice that you learned in 2016, what would it be? I have learned - not only in 2016, but over the years of my professional life in the public sector - that, for a business improvement project to succeed, the process owner must take the lead in its implementation. At the same time, it is also critical that the project has a “champion”, an executive sponsor - someone who possesses both credibility and sincerity. Who is your hero and why? My father because of his passion for science and mathematics, and for quality education. He retired as Schools Division Superintendent and in all the provinces/cities he was assigned, he established a science high school. Most of the graduates of these schools have passed the College Admission Test (UPCAT) of the University of the Philippines (UP), the premier state university of the Philippines. And finally, if you could recommend us one place to eat, where would it be? For me, any restaurant that serves fresh shrimps and crabs (just steamed) is good!