The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is seeking the approval of its proposed P46.6-billion budget for fiscal year 2021, which is significantly much higher than its current budget for FY 2020 amounting only to around P6 billion.
DICT secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II said the much bigger budget is needed “to effectively implement the department’s strategic programs towards digital transformation in the new normal.”
Honasan added that the proposed budget is in line with the goals of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) and the Inter-Agency Task Force-Technical Working Group on Anticipatory and Forward Planning (IATF-TWG-AFP) to rebuild the economy and adapt to the “new normal” of economic activity.
In its proposal, the DICT allotted P22.1 billion — the biggest chunk of its proposed budget — for its digital connectivity and access programs, particularly the National Broadband Program (NBP), the Free WiFi for All in Public Places and State Universities and Colleges Program, and the Government Emergency Communications System.
“Digital connectivity and access is the foundation of digital transformation. It is only with a secure and reliable Internet connectivity for every Filipino can we implement programs and initiatives towards digitalization in various sectors of our society,” Honasan explained.
Meanwhile, P11.7 billion was allotted to DICT’s digital government initiatives, P10.2 billion for digital workforce and digital education, P55 million for digital cities and provinces, P1.05 billion for cybersecurity, and P1.3 billion for DICT’s internal programs.
“We hope that both houses of Congress will approve our proposed budget for 2021. Now more than ever, the call for digital transformation has never been more urgent. We need all the resources to fast track the country’s digital transformation for us to better adapt to the new normal brought by the Covid-19 pandemic,” Honasan said.