DICT says P300-M intelligence fund ‘legitimately’ spent on cybersecurity

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The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said in a statement on Wednesday, Feb. 5, that there was nothing irregular in the disbursement of the P300-million confidential fund.

The ICT agency said it issued the statement “in response to various news articles which may have inaccurately misled the public on the disbursement of P300,000,000 from the Confidential Expenses, a line item allocated to the Department under the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2019.”

It stressed that under existing laws, the “confidential expense” item is for lawful monitoring and surveillance of systems and networks to support the DICT’s functions, which include cybersecurity, the formulation and effective implementation of the National Cybersecurity Plan, and international cooperation on intelligence on cybersecurity matters.

“[T]he Confidential Expense allocated in the 2019 GAA was legitimately used for cybersecurity and the protection of our national security, with the safety of our government’s information facilities and institutions, and the welfare of our people, being the Department’s utmost priority. Rest assured, that proper procedures were followed, and the disbursements were regular in accordance with applicable accounting and auditing laws, rules, and regulations,” the DICT stated.

The agency said the P300-million intelligence fund was disbursed in three tranches of P100 million, each of which were liquidated with the Commission on Audit (COA).

“The COA did not disallow the disbursements. Its recommendations were procedural, pertaining mainly to the timeframes for disbursement. Simply put, the COA’s main concern is for the Department to be more efficient in processing the relevant documents — all of which the Department has addressed,” the DICT added.

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