1. Introduction
    As per Section 28 of the General Appropriations Act of 2016, the agencies of the Philippine government shall adopt a principle of interoperability with each other. The Philippine eGovernment Interoperability Framework (PeGIF) shall provide the framework to guide the agencies in order to achieve this. This framework was created under the guidance of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) as part of its mandate under Section 6, (c) and (g) of RA 10844.
  2. Background and Rationale
    1. The Philippine Government has the responsibility to provide fast and efficient services to the citizens. For the most part, the many different government agencies have been able to comply with this directive. They have adopted new technologies and the best business process practices in to improve their ability to deliver their services.
    2. However, these changes were mostly done through each agency’s own initiative, resulting in systems that, while functional, are isolated and often incompatible with the systems of the other agencies. This has resulted in needless repetition of work and effort, as each agency performs similar tasks with the same objectives. This also means that the government’s resources, manpower and time are used inefficiently. This also puts an extra burden on the part of the citizens, who must perform the same tasks every time they transact with the government.
    3. The DICT created the PeGIF to come up with the policies and standards to guide the different agencies in their collaboration efforts. Besides technological standards, the PeGIF also establishes some of the best practices and guidelines that may aid in the development of  rules and systems that will allow agencies to collaborate with each other.
    4. The PeGIF has covered other frameworks prior to this document. PeGIF 1 contains the Technical Interoperablity and Standards Catalog while PeGIF 2 deals with the Information Interoperability Framework. This document shall deal with the Business Process Interoperability Framework.
  3. Definition of Terms
    The following definition of terms shall be adopted for this document:

    1. Agency – refers to any of the various units of the Government, including a department, bureau, office, instrumentality, or government-owned or controlled corporations, or a local government or a distinct unit therein.
    2. Business Process – Refers to a series of tasks performed in order to deliver a service
    3. Business Process Interoperability – The ability of different agencies to be able to share tasks amongst themselves in order to deliver a service.
    4. Collaborative Group – A group of agencies that have agreed to cooperate or share their assets with each other in order to fulfill their functions as agencies.
    5. Interoperability – the capability of different systems to share their work processes with each other
    6. Maturity Model – A reference for evaluating the current capabilities of an organization and the milestones necessary to achieve its desired state.
    7. Redundant/ Redundancies – an item or task that is considered repetitive and unnecessary
      This document may occasionally use terms found in the PeGIF 1 and 2. The definition of these terms are found in their respective documents.
  4. Scope
    This framework shall cover the the different business processes that occur within the government. This shall encompass all agencies under the Executive Branch of the government and their clients.
  5. Benefits of Interoperability
    1. Business process interoperability is necessary in achieving operational efficiency in any organization. Without interoperability, units will have to perform redundant tasks. This will result in a waste of time, manpower and resources which could be utilized more efficiently. Allowing different units to share the workload in the business process will allow each unit to move more efficiently at reduced overall cost to the organization.
    2. The same can apply in the context of our government. For example, each agency asks the citizens to supply their personal information during application or require them to supply documents which are provided by other agencies. Through business process interoperability, agencies can easily verify the identity of their client and get the necessary information they need for the transaction. This would mean less time, effort and resources used, especially on the part of the citizens. Making the business process more efficient will make government transactions a more pleasurable experience for our citizens.
  6. Challenges in Achieving Interoperability
    1. Resistance to change is an undeniable part of the human experience. Complacency is an easier choice but one that also leads to stagnation. Stagnation hinders both growth and improvement. However, given the proper motivation, people can adapt new paradigms while realizing that the potential benefits outweigh sticking with the status quo.
    2. This is very much relevant to the current situation in Philippine government. Some agencies are used to doing things in certain ways, and see little need to change. They may feel that the risks involved in changing outweigh the benefits. These factors have to be considered when trying to institute changes:
      1. Trust & Communication – Trust is necessary in order to achieve interoperability. All involved in the business process must be able to depend on the support provided by other collaborators. Trust must exist in all levels of the collaboration in order to successfully implement it.
        1. Intra-agency Trust – Before an organization can coordinate its efforts with other groups, it must ensure that the whole organization backs the initiative. All members, from the leadership to the rank-and-file staff must do their part to ensure the success of the initiative. The officers within the agency must be able to make their staff understand the changes that will happen and how this will affect the group as a whole. Staff members must be involved in the change process and be allowed to share their ideas and give input regarding the new system. This open communication should allow the group to coordinate their efforts better.
        2. Inter-agency Trust – Agencies that wish to collaborate with each other have to be mindful or the mandates of each agency and the measures they must undertake in order to assure the security of the data without it impeding their work process. Agencies should refer to the Data Privacy Act and their respective mandates in order to define the exact parameters and extent of their collaboration. They must jointly decide and design the measures necessary for the implementation of security during the business process. This way all those involved in the collaboration are aware of each member’s responsibilities and contributions. This will promote accountability and transparency in the interoperability process.
        3. External Stakeholders – Citizens tend to be wary of any policy change in government, especially if they are directly affected by these. The government must be able to properly inform the citizens of the changes in the system and how they stand to benefit from these. This must be communicated in layman’s language to avoid any ambiguity. Most importantly, the process will also be transparent to citizens.
      2. Capacity Building and Organizational Readiness – Agencies must ensure that their organization is interoperability-ready. They must refer to the latest version of the PeGIF 1 Standards Catalogue in order to ensure that their organizations are up to the standards required by the whole of government. The organization must also ensure that the protocols of the business process are understood by all concerned.
      3. Strategic Planning & Continuity – Achieving interoperability is a long-term goal. Agencies involved must commit to the attainment of this goal, despite any internal changes that may happen, such as leadership, staff or any other major upheavals. This can be done by setting realistic and attainable goals for the project. Breaking down objectives into smaller tasks allows for gradual progress. The agencies involved should help in identifying these tasks and how to approach them. This way the group can avoid needless repetition of tasks and waste of time, resources and effort. However the agencies must not lose sight of the big picture. Focusing too much on the specifics will cause a bottleneck in the process, delaying the progress of the project.
      4. Resources – The above factors, coupled with the long-term planning needed to realize the changes, make resources a major concern for the agencies involved in the interoperability process. To achieve interoperability, agencies must be willing to commit the resources, time and effort in implementing it. Agencies must be flexible in the allocation of these resources to key areas of the system in order to see it through.
  7. Underlying Principles
    1. This document is aligned with the principles outlined in the previous PeGIF documents, namely collaboration, inclusiveness, openness, preference for open standards, promoting trust and security, and an alignment with global standards.
    2. The PeGIF 3 document shall adopt the following principles:
      1. Business Interoperability should be outcome-oriented – Interoperability between agencies must serve a higher purpose and exists not just for its own sake. This usually involves the improvement of an agency’s ability to deliver its services. Agencies must refer to their Citizen’s Charter to assess the need for collaboration. The charter will serve to map out the steps in their transactions, showing them where they collaborate with each other.
      2. Business Interoperability must be aligned with Government Policies – The goals of the collaboration must be aligned with the whole of government. Agencies should refer to the latest version of the eGovernment Master Plan to ensure this. The eGMP strives to create an efficient, innovative, collaborative and transparent Philippine government through information and communications technology.
      3. Business Interoperability must be user-driven – Plans and strategies to be undertaken in order to achieve collaboration must come from the agencies themselves. Each collaborative group may have specific needs, which are best determined by the members of said group. By being the main motivators, agencies can make the change more organic and less forced.
      4. The business interoperability process must be seamless – Citizens see the government as a single entity. When transacting with the government, citizens should not be made to feel that they are being passed around from one area to the next. Transactions with the government should feel like a single process, regardless of the number of agencies involved or number of steps.
      5. The collaborating agencies must adopt a common standard – Compatibility is necessary for interoperability. This goes beyond technological standards, agencies must adopt common practices, vocabularies and objectives for their system. Following a common standard allows the group to efficiently and harmoniously work together. These standards must be made available to the whole-of-government, in the spirit of collaboration and transparency. Agencies must refer to the other PeGIF documents for the standards used in the Philippine government, such as the Technical Standards Catalog and the methods for achieving Information Interoperability.
      6. The approach to business process interoperability must be sustainable – The interoperability effort must be geared towards finding solutions that are practical and flexible, at the most reasonable cost. The developers must also ensure that their environment is ready to support its deployment.
      7. The business interoperability processes should promote availability, trust, confidence and security of data – The process must be available whenever it is needed and offer multiple access options. The process must also include a means of auditing the data trail as it passes through different parties. This promotes transparency and accountability within the system. The system must also be capable of protecting its contents during inter-agency transfer. These principles are in accordance with the relevant sections of the Data Privacy Act of 2012.
      8. Governance arrangements must be agreed between collaborating agencies. – Agencies involved in the collaborative effort must be in agreement to its policies. A governing body will be formed to ensure that member actions are aligned to these policies. It will be composed of both representatives from different agencies and field experts. This ensures not only equal representation but also contributions from a pool of experts from different fields. These agreements shall be made available to the public, in the spirit of open data principles.
      9. The culture of each agency must be taken into consideration – Collaborating agencies must recognize that others may have their own practices. Consensus or at least meeting halfway will help in cooperation for their mutual benefit.  They should also be ready to compensate for any member weaknesses. Lastly, agencies must develop an effective change management plan so staff members can quickly adapt the new system.
      10. Interoperability shall promote competitiveness – The interoperability initiative should enable the Philippine government to provide eGovernment services on a level at least at par with other governments. Agencies will use the United Nations ICT Taskforce standards to measure their capabilities. Raising government service standards will not only improve its ability to deliver services, but also allow some measure of interoperability with other nations, especially with fellow ASEAN members.
  8. PeGIF 3 Governance
    The interoperability process must be monitored and governed to ensure compliance and continuity.

    1. Whole-of-Government Implementation
      1. From a government-wide perspective, the DICT is responsible for the implementation of the PeGIF and shall oversee the different sectoral bodies. The DICT shall establish a Secretariat to support the agencies in the implementation of the Business Process Interoperability Framework. The head of this Secretariat shall be appointed by the DICT.
      2. Specific to business process interoperability, the head of the Secretariat shall lead the following:
        1. Adoption of standard definitions and formats for business process interoperability.
        2. Development of government-wide tools necessary to ensure consistency in implementation of business processes and improve agencies’ ability to share their processes.
        3. Production of business process interoperability assets and service as steward of government-wide business process interoperability assets.
        4. Publication or wide dissemination of business process interoperability assets, including the setting up and management of a shared services center.
        5. Promotion of best practices for sectoral, inter-departmental, and inter-organizational service-level agreements management and governance.
        6. Supporting international interoperability initiatives, such as the ASEAN Single Window, which the Philippines has been a part of since 2012.
      3. The National ICT Governance Service of the DICT (or its successor unit) shall assist the head of the PeGIF 3 Secretariat in its implementation. The head of the Secretariat shall also be supported by a multi-stakeholder PeGIF Advisory Committee.
    2. Sectoral Governance
      1. Agencies that see the need for interoperability to between their business processes should form a collaborative group to address this. Refer to the Appendix of this document for the details on forming a collaborative group.
      2. Each collaborative group will have its own steering committee. This body shall be composed of member agency representatives and technical experts in the field of business management and information technology. The representatives of each agency shall decide amongst themselves who will be the chair of this group.
      3. The steering committee shall oversee the policy creation, service-level agreements, protocols and other collaterals needed by the collaborative group. They shall ensure that these documents adhere to the principles of this framework. It is also the responsibility of the body to review the policies of the collaborative group to ensure they are still aligned with the government. The body shall also ensure that the members adhere to the agreements and policies of the collaboration.  Lastly, it is the responsibility of this body to ensure the continuity of the collaboration among the member agencies, regardless of any changes in the agency.
  9. Achieving Business Process Interoperability
    Achieving inter-agency interoperability is a daunting but not impossible endeavor. As long as the participating groups are actively involved and committed, the business process streamlining should be attainable.

    1. Business processes in the government can be classified into distinct categories. These categories are based on a defined objective, methodology and desired outcome. This creates a standardization of processes in the government, allowing for better interoperability among agencies. Agencies shall categorize their work processes based on these categories:
      1. Capture – This involves the collection of information or data from an external source. The agencies must be able to define what type of data it needs to collect, the manner by which it will collect the data and the source of the data. By the end of the process, the agency must be able to obtain accurate and relevant information from their source.
      2. Store – The agency must be able to store captured data in an organized manner. The agency must determine the manner they will store this data, how it will be organized and what measures they will take in order to ensure its integrity. The data must also be easily recoverable for use in the future.
      3. Route – Agencies must be able to pass data from one node to another. The agencies must be able to determine the source of the data, the conditions for the transfer process to begin, the mode by which data is routed, and its destination.
      4. Dispense  – This is decision-making based on input. The agencies must be able to determine the dependencies necessary to trigger the decision making process, the conditions needed to arrive at a certain decision, and the actions that should be taken based on the decisions and how it should be escalated.
      5. Pay – This involves receiving payment for transactions and services. Agencies must be able to determine the cost of the service, the means by which they will receive payment from their clients, the means by which they will issue the receipt and how the fee shall be disbursed to the proper agencies or bodies.
      6. Issue – To be able to release requested output. Agencies must determine the dependencies needed to fulfill the release of the desired output, the means the agency can obtain these dependencies, the means by which the agency should release the issuances to the requesting party and verification that the requesting party has received their request.
      7. Measure – Agencies must be able to gauge the performance of their processes. They must have a means of evaluating their processes and a mechanic to respond to the evaluation.
        Though the actual details will vary per agency and group, this provides a unified definition for their processes, allowing them to better map out their processes and determine where interoperability can occur.
    2. Agencies should determine how to classify their different work processes, defining the specific details needed by each process. They should refer to their Citizen’s Charter for the exact processes in their systems and the categories in the previous section. By mapping out their different business processes, agencies will be able to identify:
      • The tasks common to each agency
      • Points of intersection between agencies in their respective business process where they can collaborate
      • Which partner agencies can supply the dependencies necessary for their processes to be
    3. All government procedures must adhere to the principle of First-In, First-Out. The system must be able to prioritize the order in which transactions are queued for processing. The system must be able to implement all steps in the process and in the proper sequence before moving on to the next transaction in the queue. These processes must be able to return the correct and consistent output.
    4. The system must be able to handle exceptions processing. Agencies must determine alternative dependencies in order for the process to continue normally. Agencies must determine the source of these alternate dependencies and how to access them.
    5. The system must have protocols for handling transactions that are unable to satisfy any of its dependencies. It must have a means of escalating the transaction for resolution and to continue with the next transaction in the queue. The system must also be able to inform the parties involved in the transaction of the error and the actions that must be take to address this.
    6. Existing information systems and future projects are to be reviewed and reevaluated in order to determine what particular assets can be shared within the group.  Steps to meet the identified collaboration must be included in the agencies’ activity time-frame.  Some of the larger collaborative projects cannot be accomplished within a one or two-year period. Future plans for inter-agency process interoperability should be considered to deal with such projects.
    7. Agencies must adopt a common terminology and language standard to properly communicate with one another. This ensures information can be accurately relayed to members and allow them in turn, to make meaningful decisions.
    8. All collaborating agencies should jointly design the new work process, with the guidance of their sectoral governance body. Protocols agreed upon by the agencies must be aligned with the mandates of each member. The terms of the service-level agreement shall be drafted and agreed upon by all participating agencies.
    9. Collaborating agencies must integrate the technological and policy standards from the Technical Interoperability and Standards Catalog and the Information Interoperability Framework. These standards ensure not only system functionality and stability but also interoperability with the rest of the government.
    10. The system shall be deployed only after it has undergone the proper testing and quality assurance process. The collaborative group shall set the benchmarks needed to determine if the system is ready for deployment, using any recognized testing methodology. Once the system has been evaluated and passes it can be deployed.
    11. To ensure compliance with the agreed processes, policies and protocols, participating agencies will provide a copy of their business process’s Technical Documents to the DICT for validation. The DICT shall make these documents available to the rest of the government, both for transparency and asset re-usability reasons. The documents will be made available in such a way that they do not compromise any sensitive or proprietary information.
    12. The collaborative group shall continue to monitor the performance of the system after its implementation. The group shall also continue to research on  methods and technology to improve the system. They shall incorporate the latest technological standards and business practices recommended by authoritative bodies into the redesign of their system once it has reached the end of its life-cycle.
  10. Business Process Maturity
    1. The agencies may use a business maturity model to gauge their organizational maturity. This tool should indicate both organizational capacities and the milestones needed to meet the desired maturity level. The DICT shall endorse the use of the Fischer BPM model, which guides users in transitioning from a siloed to a fully integrated system. Agencies must refer to the IRR of the Interoperability Framework.
    2. Agencies must also factor risk management into their system transition. The DICT shall endorse the use of the Risk-Management Maturity (RMM) model. This model allows them to weigh the gains of the group versus involved risks when adopting a new technology or practice. Agencies must refer to the IRR of the Interoperability Framework.
  11. PeGIF 3 Review
    1. The PeGIF 3 is to be a living document, subject to an annual review.
    2. The head of the PeGIF Secretariat shall have the authority to call for a review and revision of the document outside of the annual review. This may be done in order to expedite the resolution of any conflict in policies or regulations that may arise.
    3. This review shall be done by the DICT aided by a multi-sectoral special working group. They will review the contents of the framework to ensure that it remains aligned to the other PeGIF documents and government policy. The special working group shall issue their recommendations and the DICT shall make the necessary changes.
    4. Once approved by the DICT and the special working group, the different collaborative groups must be informed of these changes, for their compliance.
  12. Supporting Laws and Policies
    The following documents provide the rationale and support for the Business Process Interoperability Framework:

    1. RA 10844 or the Department of Information and Communications Technology Law (http://www.gov.ph/2016/05/23/republic-act-no-10844/)
    2. Philippine eGovernment Interoperability Framework (PeGIF) (http://i.gov.ph/pegif/)
    3. Anti Red-Tape Act (ARTA) (http://www.gov.ph/2007/06/02/republic-act-no-9485/)
    4. Data Privacy Act (http://www.gov.ph/2012/08/15/republic-act-no-10173

Appendix: Collaborative Groups

  1. A collaborative group is made up of agencies that have agreed to share their assets among each other in order to fulfill their roles in the government. Collaborative groups are formed according to the functional needs of the government. Agencies that are part of a collaborative group need not be part of the same sector. For example, an agency in the health sector that needs information on the identity of its clients may collaborate with an agency in charge of citizen identification in for the purposes of identification and verification of clients.
  2. Collaborative groups may be formed according to the categories below. These are based on the initial collaborative groups identified by the DICT based on the mandates of the different agencies. This list shall be expanded as future collaborative groups are determined.
    1. Business and economics (competitiveness, banking, trade, etc.)
    2. Citizens Welfare
    3. Crime Management
    4. Culture and arts
    5. Disaster Management
    6. Education
    7. Employment
    8. Entertainment
    9. Food Security/ Agriculture
    10. Foreign Affairs
    11. Health
    12. ICT
    13. Land
    14. Legal Representation
    15. Local Government Unit (LGU)
    16. Natural Resources
    17. Persons Information
    18. Public Infrastructure
    19. Research
    20. Vehicles/ Vessels
  3. The terms of the collaboration shall be included in the Memorandum of Agreement between the agencies and the DICT. The agreement shall include the deliverables and responsibilities of each participant.

Appendix: PeGIF 3 Technical Working Group

  • Chair: Denis F. Villorente
  • Vice-Chair: Dr. Vladimir Dennis B. Reyes, PhD
  • Members:
    • Mr. Von E. Abella
    • Ms. Marinella O. Belgado
    • Mr. Reynaldo Joseph A. Callao Jr.
    • Atty. Sherwin Prose C. Castañeda
    • Prof. Rommel P. Feria
    • Dir. Maria Teresa M. Garcia
    • Comm. Lilia C. Guillermo
    • Dr. Alvin B. Marcelo, M.D.
    • Dir. Marlon R. Marquina
    • Prof. Ma. Rowena C. Solamo
    • Mr. Terence Michael A. Tablizo
    • Mr. Cesar Reynaldo V. Vinuya
    • Dr. William S. Emmanuel Yu, PhD

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