Following swift deliberations, the Commission on Appointments (CA) confirmed on Wednesday, Sept 11, the appointment of former senator Gregorio B. Honasan II as the secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
Sen. Grace Poe said Honasan’s military background could help safeguard national interest and security.
“If Secretary Honasan can play a key role in a People Power Revolution and lead a group of progressive soldiers dreaming of systemic improvements back then, it is but certain that such kind of leadership, passion, and determination will surely benefit a relatively young department which is the DICT,” Poe sad.
Sen. Joel Villanueva, meanwhile, emphasized that Honasan’s character and leadership skills are fit for the job.
“I believe he is the best person for the job. DICT’s biggest challenge is not the integration of technology into the public’s daily life, but ensuring that information technology will not deepen our misery as people. Kailangan natin ng isang tao na magdadala ng teknolohiya sa tama, ethical at mabuting direksyon,” he said.
Senate majority leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senators Cynthia Villar, Panfilo Lacson, Christopher “Bong” Go, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., and San Juan representative Ronaldo Zamora similarly endorsed Honasan’s appointment as DICT secretary.
In response, Honasan stated that he would focus on the effective delivery of the executive mandate.
“I was not placed [in DICT] to be the digital lineman. The technical expertise is there at napakaliwanag naman ng marching orders ni Presidente (the marching orders of the President is very clear) – connectivity,” he said.
Meanwhile, Honasan believes the next 18 months will be crucial for the DICT to set the course of the Digital Philippines vision.
“Realistically, we are looking at an 18-month timeline. That is our urgent timeline to set things in motion,” Honasan said in his opening address during the BusinessWorld Industry 4.0 Summit on Monday, Sept. 9.
Honasan urged business and industry people to help the government in executing the vision of a Digital Philippines in order to accelerate digital transformation of the country.
Digital Philippines is the DICT’s overall framework in the planning and implementation of comprehensive ICT policies, enhanced connectivity programs, and reliable cybersecurity.
With the three pillars of the framework, the DICT hopes to establish and institutionalize digitalization of government, workforce, workplace, classrooms, and communities.
Honasan mentioned a number of policy and programs that are lined up under his watch, such as the Common Tower Policy, Central Business Portal, National Citizen Portal and Philippine Business Databank.
“Industry Revolution 4.0 is here but we still have a lot of work to do in truly making Digital Philippines an experience for every Filipino,” Honasan said.
In one of the panel discussions, DICT undersecretary for operations Eliseo M. Rio Jr., on the other hand, emphasized that infrastructure build-up and content creation are important in order for the country to maximize the opportunities brought by IR 4.0.