Antonette T. Torres, Program Manager, iGovPhil, Department of ICT, the Philippines

By Chia Jie Lin

Women in GovTech 2018 Special Report.

How do you use technology/policy to improve citizens’ lives? Tell us about your role or organisation.

The National Government Portal Project that I am managing right now is planning to build a citizen-centric portal that will house all government data, information and services. One of those services is the e-participation tool that aims to solicit citizens’ feedback and ideas on draft policies.

The services aim to provide the usual government services online – first, to address the worsening traffic in the metropolis, and second, to eliminate long queues of people in government offices. These are the direct benefits that people will experience, but of course, it aims to provide a more efficient and effective governance in anticipation of the ‘millennials’ transacting with the government.

What has been the most exciting thing that you worked on in 2018?

I would say, convincing the agencies to move their website on the and selling the integrated platform of the Department of ICT to facilitate interoperability and streamlining of technologies to support.

If you were to share one piece of advice that you learned in 2018, what would it be?

To ensure sustainability from start, involve your stakeholders. And consider sustainability and quality aspects of the project in the project design.
Be creative, find your value-add (as a person) and find the value-add of your project such that even your critics will support its development

What tool or technique particularly interests you for 2019?

There are three tools that interest me:
  • The use of business intelligence analytics and how simply it can visualise your data
  • The Kanban approach (roadmap) to tasks monitoring
  • The blockchain technology that will provide more trust and authoritativeness to portal transactions
What are your priorities for 2019?

To draft the national action plan for the development of the, with focus on strategies that will ensure cooperation between the national and local agencies, the civil society organisations, the tech start-ups and the academe.

In this plan, we want to list all possible citizen-centric services and issue a call for collaboration so anybody who would like to help in systems development can participate. Filipinos, after all have the spirit of ‘volunteerism’ that we are counting on.

We also plan to conduct ‘hackathons’ to allow citizens solve the recurring problems that the government has failed to address.

What is one skill that has helped you the most throughout the course of your career?

I would say – project management and listening to my team. As a project manager I consider myself an ‘orchestra conductor’. It is my utmost duty to guide the team where we are leading and to ensure that everyone is competent in their role.

What advancements do you predict will happen in your field in the next ten years?

The infiltration of the industry-defined smart city, smart government, smart governance, etc. that will require the use of big data, machine learning, blockchain and artificial intelligence. If this happens, we need more IT project managers that understand how technology works and at the same time how the non-millennials will survive this change.

I also predict the development of mobile government online services and citizens transacting on the comfort of their homes or anywhere they desire.
There will also be a move to telecommuting and an output-based salary structure for both the industry and the government.

Coffee, yoga, music… what powers you through your day?

Coffee in the office and power naps with music while resting at home. And my family – Joe, my husband; Joan, my daughter, and my dogs, Gandalf and Frodo.