Globe Telecom is pressing for the creation of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), saying this would help elevate local state of internet and usher in the country to become a digital economy.
“The Philippines is in urgent need of an agency that will drive the country’s ICT development and help steer the country to realize its full potential as a digital economy where homes, businesses and individuals have access to fast and reliable data connectivity. We are hopeful that enhancing ICT development in the country, by creating DICT, would enable more business organizations to work more efficiently, maximize productivity and contribute to sustaining the country’s economic growth,” Globe General Counsel Froilan Castelo said.
The creation of the DICT is expected to provide an appropriate policy framework for ICT development in the country and at the same time promote continuity of such policies. A policy framework for ICT development is expected to enable telecommunication providers to improve the quality of their services including internet connectivity, Castelo said.
Castelo pointed out that Globe, for instance, has embarked on another nationwide infrastructure program to build on its network infrastructure and enhance the country’s internet experience. However, the company has been facing difficulties in building more cell sites and in establishing right-of-ways as it is currently in the process of expanding capacity expansion for both its mobile and wireline networks using different technologies including 3G, LTE and Wi-Fi. The creation of DICT and formulation of a policy framework for ICT development would help expedite the deployment of ICT infrastructure such as cell sites and fiber optics.
A bill creating the DICT is now up for signing by President Aquino, just about a month before he relinquishes his post. The President has a 30-day review period within which he could sign the bill into law or veto it. Under the proposed measure, the DICT shall be the primary entity tasked with planning, promoting and helping develop the country’s ICT sector and ensure reliable cost-efficient communications facilities and other multi-media infrastructure and services.
Once enacted into law, the measure would abolish the Information and Communications Technology Office, National Computer Center, National Computer Institute, Telecommunications Office, National Telecommunications Training Institute, and all operating units of the Department of Transportation and Communications that deal with communications. Meanwhile, the National Telecommunications Commission, National Privacy Commission, and Cybercrime Investigation and Coordination Center shall be attached to the DICT.
All offices, services, divisions, units and personnel not covered by the proposed act shall be retained by the DOTC, which will be renamed the Department of Transportation; while all powers and functions related to cybersecurity, including but not limited to the formulation of the National Cybersecurity Plan, establishment of the National Computer Emergency Response Team, and the facilitation of international cooperation on intelligence regarding cybersecurity matters, shall also be transferred to DICT.