For the first time since Pres. Benigno Aquino III assumed power, Congress has included a bill creating the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) as one of its priorities in its legislative agenda.
A meeting of leaders from the Senate and the House of Representatives held on Thursday, Sept. 3, has identified the DICT bill as part of a shortlist of priorities for the next five weeks, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. revealed.
?The choice of priorities was determined based on their advanced stage in the legislative process, therefore making their passage more achievable,? Belmonte said.
?This also veers away from traditionally giving full focus to the GAA (General Appropriations Act) passage alone. Congress feels there are other equally urgent measures that can benefit our people.?
The Senate has already passed in third and final reading its version of the DICT bill.
At the same time, two solons from the Magdalo party-list group have also thrown their support behind the bill proposing the creation of the DICT.
Citing a report by the US think tank Brookings Institution, which showed that the Philippines is lagging behind in digital inclusion, Magdalo representatives Ashley L. Acedillo and Gary Alejano said it is high time for the country to have a dedicated agency for ICT.
Alejano said that “there should be a primary department in charge of developing, planning, and promoting the government’s ICT agenda.”
Echoing the same sentiment, Acedillo said “the DICT can lead the effort in establishing free Internet service that every Filipino can access in government offices and designated public areas using the most cost-effective communications technology”.