Bukidnon provincial board eyes ‘paperless’ sessions by July

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 30 May) – The Bukidnon provincial board has scheduled to start holding paperless sessions by July to go with the trend and to save on operating cost.

Lawyer Apollo A. Maguale, Sangguniang Panlalawigan secretary, told MindaNews Wednesday that Bukidnon is benchmarking on the experience of Agusan del Sur on paperless sessions with a visit in early June to observe at least three stages of operating a legislative body.

He said a 35-member delegation composed of officials and legislative staff will visit Agusan del Sur to observe the provincial board’s preparation, actual session, and reporting activities of their paperless legislative body operations.

The Bukidnon delegation will observe the Agusan del Sur provincial board’s preparation and session on June 10 and 11.

Maguale cited the provincial ordinance passed last January authorizing the provincial board secretariat to initiate transition from the manual and conventional method to “paperless” sessions.

The ordinance was authored by Jay Albarece, who chairs the committee on laws.

The ordinance provided for the establishment of an electronic legislative management information system for a fully automated “management and tracking of legislative measures and other documents.”

Maguale said the transition involves changes in equipment, journal and minutes preparation, receiving documents, ordinance and resolution management, legislative tracking, and library.

But he admitted that the change will be gradual with only an initial fund of P500,000. He said that in the end, it won’t be “entirely paperless.”

Maguale added that most likely, they will be delayed, considering the procurement process.

Agusan del Sur started holding paperless session in September 2007. In a leaflet they provided to Maguale, the shift gave them more efficient session process, lesser cost, fewer manpower, faster retrieval of documents, and an environment-friendly operations.

From about P500,000 total cost per year before, the paperless session only costs P128,299.70, or a savings of P365,825.30.

The provincial board of Agusan del Sur cited that the shift required support of the governor, existence of an information technology unit, organization of paperless transition team, amendments to the existing internal rules of procedure, preparation of project proposal, procurement of the needed equipment, and conduct of information technology training.