Nineteen months after Newsbytes.PH broke the news of his looming appointment, former Senator Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan II formally took his oath of office as the new secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) on Monday, July 1.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said Honasan took his oath before President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang and joined the scheduled Cabinet meeting on the same day.
Honasan accepted Duterte’s offer to name him DICT chief last November 2018. However, it was in December 2017 that Newsbytes.PH first reported that the former rebel soldier had the inside track to snag the post.
As DICT acting secretary Eliseo M. Rio Jr. was holding the position in a temporary basis, Honasan is technically replacing Rodolfo Salalima, who resigned as DICT head in September 2017. It was also Newsbytes.PH which broke the news on Salalima’s resignation.
While it is uncertain if the current crop of undersecretaries and assistant secretaries at the agency would be retained, Honasan is likely to name Eleazar H. Almalbis Jr., a lawyer and former Senate staff member who is related to his daughter-in-law Barbie Almalbis, as an undersecretary.
Long-time observers of the local ICT industry said they are hoping Honasan would bring in more experienced and competent underlings who can help him tackle the issues that the ICT sector is currently facing.
Although Honasan has yet to formally occupy his office at the DICT building in Quezon City, he is reportedly eyeing former Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) Ivan Uy as a consultant.
Asked via Facebook if he has taken up the job, Uy said he is interested to serve again in government. “[But] I don’t think he has hired anyone yet,” he stated.
Honasan was born on March 14, 1948 in Baguio City to Colonel Romeo Honasan and Alice Ballesteros, a teacher from Sorsogon. His elementary years were spent at San Beda College in Manila and the Dominican School in Taipei, Taiwan. He graduated with honors at Don Bosco High School in Mandaluyong and took up Economics at the University of the Philippines. He then went on to the Philippine Military Academy, where he graduated as “Class Baron.” In 1981, he took up his Masters Degree in Business Management at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM).
In his tenure in the Senate, he authored and co-authored the Clean Air Act of 1999, Clean Water Act, the National Security Policy, Disaster Risk Reduction Management Act of 2009, the Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 and the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms Law (CARPER), among others.
He also pushed for the passage of the Freedom of Information Act or People’s Ownership of Government Information (POGI) Act, the National Mapping and Resource Authority Law and the Land Use Act.
In the last 17th Congress, Honasan was the Chairperson of the Senate Committees on National Defense and Security, and Peace, Unification, and Reconciliation.
He also acted as chair in three oversight committees, specifically the Congressional Oversight Committees on Agrarian Reform and Dangerous Drugs, as well as the Joint Oversight Committee on the Human Security Act.