Senate passes DICT bill on second reading
The Philippines is one step closer to having a department overseeing all of its information and communications technology now after the recent passage of the bill seeking to create such a department on second reading in the Senate yesterday.
Senator Edgardo Angara lauded the Senate’s passage on of the bill creating the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT). As the chair of the Senate Committe on Science and Technology, Angara is the main author and sponsor of Senate Bill No. 50 (under Committee Report No. 53), calling primarily for the reorganization of the communications-related agencies under the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) into a separate agency.
“That much of our lives is already influenced heavily by ICT should only motivate us all the more to focus on developing the necessary infrastructure and implementing the appropriate policies,” said Angara, noting that around 45 percent of the population has access to the internet.
He also explained that ICT-enabled industries such as the Information Technology and Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry will benefit greatly with a DICT in place.
“This new department will not only provide meaningful policy support to these information-driven industries, but also ensure that other government agencies get to utilize ICT for improved governance,” added Angara, who is also Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science & Technology and Engineering (COMSTE).
On the Senate floor, amendments to Section 2 of the bill (“Declaration of Policy”) were proposed to reflect the role of ICT in disaster risk reduction and management initiatives.
The veteran lawmaker agreed to the proposal, saying “I think that’s a very appropriate and timely addition to the objectives of this bill. In fact, ICT is the enabling instrument in forewarning people of disasters.”
Angara cited the Hyogo Disaster Management Center in the Hyogo Prefecture in Japan which he described as “fully wired and connected to all the disaster centers throughout the world.”
In conclusion, Angara said “This bill has been in the making for a long time, having been first filed three Congresses ago. The measure will still have to undergo bicameral review before it becomes law, but I am confident that our counterparts in the House see the clear need for a separate government agency dedicated to the development of ICT in the country.”