September 8, 2021

The replication of the Regional Geographic Information Network (RGIN) Geoportal Project in pilot Regions 1, 6, 8, 9, 12, and 13 will help improve research and development and craft evidence-based policies in the country, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said.

In a speech during the virtual launch of the Geoportal Innovation Hub Replication Project on September 8, 2021, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua highlighted the importance of digital transformation within the government to strengthen policymaking and improve public service delivery.

“We believe that the use of new technology, such as the RGIN Geoportal, is the way forward in improving our efficiency, effectiveness, and comparative advantage. With the RGIN Geoportal, we will be able to collect and analyze vast amounts of data in various domains, minimize information gaps, and craft evidence-based policies,” he said.

In 2003, the NEDA Regional Office (NRO) 2 and the Regional Development Council established the RGIN. The project was then improved by NRO 2 and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through the establishment of the RGIN Geoportal in 2019. As a result, members and stakeholders had better access to mapped data using an automated and internet-based data-sharing platform.

With DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña’s recognition of the RGIN Geoportal’s potential, and upon his recommendation, the project is set to be replicated in several regions of the country. Among the pilot regions are the DOST and NEDA regional offices 1, 6, 8, 9, 12, and 13.

Chua also elaborated that, as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, NEDA is putting innovation at the core of its efforts to successfully transition into an upper-middle income country around the end of 2022 or early 2023.

“The Updated Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 recognizes the significance of Science, Technology, and Innovation or STI as one of the pillars to increase our growth potential and realize our Ambisyon Natin 2040 vision where no one is living in extreme poverty. That is why NEDA continues to advocate for digital transformation and wider use of data science in both the private and public sectors,” he said.

Chua also acknowledged that a collaborative approach is vital to support further improvements in science, technology, and innovation.

As such, in the launching of the RGIN Geoportal, the DOST regional offices will provide the grant for the computer equipment while the NEDA regional offices will coordinate RGIN-like organizations and manage the servers of the geoportal. NRO 2, in particular, will provide the capacity-building work to the pilot regions.

Chua noted that the successful establishment of the RGIN Geoportal is an initial step toward implementing the Philippine Innovation Act. According to him, this will initiate a culture of using science and innovation that allows for effective planning and decision making.

“I am optimistic that this will play a vital role in identifying the needed strategies and interventions to fast-track economic recovery, reduce income inequality, and expand socioeconomic opportunities,” he said.