Senators Ralph Recto and Grace Poe have come out to voice their support to their outgoing colleague, Sen. Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, who has been tapped to become secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
In a statement, Recto said Honasan is “a silent workhorse in a chamber of showhorses” and has “always been after good policies, not after good publicity”.
“I was the principal author of the law creating the DICT, the modernization of PAGASA and free WiFi, and I can attest that while he gave valuable inputs, he did not give a hoot at being credited for his contributions. For him, substance need not create splash,” Recto said.
He said Honasan is taking the helm of an agency whose policies affect every Filipino who has a cellphone in his pocket and a social media account in his name.
“This is so because broadband is now the third utility, after water and power. It needs to be improved because every 10 percentage points increase in broadband penetration is said to boost the GDP by 1 percent,” Recto added.
Recto said Honasan’s immediate challenge is to assure the public, the Senate included, that the third telco will not compromise national security and will be able to meet its rollout schedule and service deliverables on time.
“Many of the problems we confront today — from traffic to illiteracy to health care — have ICT solutions which can ease the pain they cause or make them totally go away. Another area of concern is our nation’s defense against cyber attacks because an enemy with a missile is as dangerous as one with malware,” Recto stressed.
Poe, meanwhile, said the former rebel soldier could build on the reforms that DICT acting secretary Eliseo M. Rio Jr. has introduced.
“I know Senator Honasan will be able to continue this vital work. We need someone like Senator Honasan at the helm of the DICT who is dedicated and efficient, and who will insure that our country will be able to modernize and make technological advances that can support growth and development.
“He comes in at a critical time of the selection of the new major player. His appointment can help allay fears surrounding national security as I know him to be a cautious and patriotic guy who would put the country above everything else,” Poe said.