A lawmaker highlighted the need for comprehensive legislation covering the information and communication technology (ICT) sector during the IBM Think Forum last week.
Sen. Edgardo J. Angara, chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, underscored the importance of having a stand-alone agency focused on the development of this sector.
“ICT is perhaps the most powerful technology in the world right now, making it vital in a developing nation like the Philippines,” said Angara.
“We must establish an independent department solely dedicated to the growth and progress of the ICT sector, if we want to transition effectively into the information era.”
Angara is the main proponent of a measure that seeks to reorganize the communications-related agencies under the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) into a separate Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
The measure is pending approval before a bicameral conference committee, comprised of members from both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
“The passage of the DICT Bill is the missing piece in our current ICT development agenda,” explained Angara, noting that two other ICT bills which he sponsored and filed have recently been signed into law.
The Data Privacy Act (RA 10173) mandates public and private enterprises to protect all personal and confidential information exchanged during internet-based transactions.
The Cybercrime Prevention Act (RA 10175), on the other hand, penalizes Internet-based offenses such as fraud, identity theft, hacking and phishing.
Angara emphasized, “These two measures lay out the policy for how our netizens will be protected while they’re online. On the other hand, a separate agency focused on ICT will look into how we can leverage ICT for our national development.”
He concluded, “The world recognizes the value and potential of the ICT industry. If we all work towards the common goal of advancing this sector, we can seize all the opportunities that will undoubtedly be open to us.”