Congress sends DICT bill to Malacanang; PNoy has 30 days to sign or veto

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The Office of the President (OP) is now reviewing the Department of Information and Communication (DICT) bill, which seeks the creation of a stand-alone department for information and communications technology.

Pres. Benigno Aquino III
Pres. Benigno Aquino III

?According to PLLO (Presidential Legislative Liaison Office), (the) DICT bill was transmitted to Malacanang on May 10. There?s a 30-day review period,? Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) secretary Herminio ?Sonny? Coloma Jr. said Monday, May 16.

House Bill No. 6198, a priority measure of Congress, was approved by the House of Representatives on third and final reading in October 2015. The Senate adopted the same last Dec. 15, thus, removing the need for a bicameral meeting for the proposed measure.

This is the second time that Congress has passed the bill creating the DICT. It almost became a reality in 2012 when Congress approved the first version of the bill. However, the legislature failed to transmit the bill to the Palace.

President Benigno Aquino II, who was vocal in his opposition in the creation of the DICT, also did not see the urgency of the sign the bill and allowed the proposed law to lapse with the adjournment at the 15th Congress in 2013.

This time around, the DICT bill has reached Malacanang, giving Aquino the chance to approve or veto it. If he does not act on the measure by June 9, it automatically becomes a law. If he exercises his veto power, Congress can override the veto by a two-thirds vote.

But if signed into law, the Department of ICT will be established by merging existing ICT-related agencies under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).

It is eyed to address, among others, the issue of Internet speed in the country, which to date is among the slowest in the world. — PNA

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