The National Archives of the Philippines (NAP), through Republic Act No. 9470 (R.A. 9470), is mandated to establish policies and guidelines for the management of electronic records in all government agencies in the country and abroad. The NAP had conducted benchmarking activities related to various Electronic Records Management (ERM) policies in different countries before crafting the Electronic Records Management Policy (ERMP). Likewise, NAP employees had undergone different training seminars on electronic records which exposed them to various strategies and methods in managing electronic records.
The newly created ERMP provides guidelines for the government sector in the shift from traditional paper records management to an electronic regime. The NAP ERM policy lays out the protocol for managing the creation, use, storage, disposition, and archiving of electronic records. Moreover, this new policy is in accordance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s instruction to embrace electronic governance and to utilize advances in technology for a better service to the Filipino people.
To disseminate information regarding the ERM Policy, the NAP, in partnership with the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), agreed to conduct a series of rollout activities for the different regions in the country. The first of these was conducted for the Visayas region on May 5, 2021.
Participants were records officers, custodians, and other related positions from the departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the national government, including financial institutions, local government units, state/local colleges and universities, government hospitals, and water districts. This event was held via video conferencing. The rollout was divided into morning and afternoon sessions.
A total of sixty (60) participants attended in the morning and afternoon sessions. All twenty-one (21) departments attended the ERM policy rollout. Some departments which did not have regional offices were represented by their attached agencies.
Both sessions started with the singing of the National Anthem followed by a prayer. NAP Executive Director (ED) Victorino M. Manalo delivered the welcome address. In his message, ED Manalo discussed the various preparatory activities carried out by NAP before coming up with the policy. The Executive Director stressed that he expected the participants to be advocates of the new electronic records management policy, ushering in a new era of connectivity and efficiency for the Philippines.
An inspirational message was delivered by Secretary Martin Andanar of the PCOO. He mentioned that the road to transparency should not be travelled alone. It can be attained through partnerships and collaborations such as with the National Archives of the Philippines and its Electronic Records Management Policy. PCOO Undersecretary Kristian Ablan discussed the link between Freedom of Information and Electronic Records Management in his message.
The discussion of the ERM Policy was divided into two (2) topics: General Provisions and General Policies. The General Provisions topic was discussed by Mr. Kit P. Toling, Records Management Analyst II. Mr. Toling discussed records maintained in official computers and storage media, official copy, records inventory, records eligible for conversion, work processes, digital signature, official email retention and disposal, records preservation, and data migration. He emphasized that government agencies should protect electronic records throughout their retention periods from intentional or accidental modifications, disclosure deletion, and unauthorized access.
The second part of the ERM policy discussion was handled by Mr. Terence Michael A. Tablizo for the morning session and Mr. Remmel G. Talabis for the afternoon session. The resource speakers explained the policies involved in managing electronic records creation, use, storage, disposition, and archiving.