Davao City Council goes paperless

THE CITY COUNCIL has decided to do away with using paper during regular sessions by using computers instead in a bid for the legislative body to go paperless.

Newly assumed Vice Mayor Bernard Al-ag said the City Council may start its “paperless sessions” by March this year.

The “paperless session” was first implemented in the province of Agusan del Sur in 2007.

In implementing the electronic sessions which will change the work flow in the council to digital, each councilor will use a laptop during the regular plenary sessions instead of browsing through voluminous piles of paper.

A total of 28 computers – one each for the 26 councilors, one for the vice mayor and one for the secretariat – will be used in the session.

Prior to the implementation of the “paperless session,” the city councilors will undergo a training later this month. It was initially set last November 29 but it failed to push through.

Al-ag did not elaborate on the technicality of the “paperless session,” particularly in the distribution of electronic copy of documents to all council members during the session.

Al-ag said the implementation of the high-tech session will result in savings of paper and ink for the printing of agenda, committee reports, and attached reports. Aside from saving reproduction costs, the new technology will also save manpower.

In the current set-up, the secretariat is reproducing a sizeable amount of copies of printed documents for each council member — an expensive and tedious task.

The “paperless session” in Mindanao was initiated by then Agusan del Sur board member Santiago B. Cane, Jr. who later became the provincial vice governor.

On Sept. 24, 2007, during the 10th regular session of the 12th Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Agusan del Sur, the first official paperless session was conducted, paving the way to a new era in local legislation in the Philippines.

“Let us all go paperless, save our tress and do our part to contain global warming,” Cane said on the official website of Agusan del Sur as he pushes other legislators to adopt the technology.

Prior to the first paperless session, Cane noted that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Agusan del Sur consumed an average of 4,758 sheets of bond paper per session every week.

“One can just imagine, if the 81 Sangguniang Panlalawigans (Provincial Boards), 120 Sangguniang Panlungsods (City Councils), 1,508 Sangguniang Bayans (Municipal Councils), and 40,043 Sangguniang Barangays (Village Councils) in the whole country, if the Senate and the House of Representatives go paperless in their respective sessions, how much money can the country save in terms of paper and reproduction costs?” Cane said.

“How much manpower can be spared?” he added. “How many trees can we rescue every year as paper demands tremendously decline?

For the city, this shift to the digital scheme can also make legislation more efficient and fast.

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