Thursday, July 25, 2024

Rio hits DICT anew for inaction on major broadband project

A week after criticizing an assistant secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) for lack of urgency on a proposed integrated contact tracing platform, former undersecretary Eliseo Rio Jr. took another swipe at the top officials of the agency for not acting on a crucial document for a broadband project in the country.

Rio, whose four-month-old resignation letter was “suddenly” accepted by Malacanang in May, said in a Facebook post that before leaving the DICT, he had prepared a draft memorandum of agreement (MOA) that would hasten the rollout of the Facebook-initiated Luzon Bypass Infrastructure (LBI) in the Philippines.

“Unfortunately, it is not given much priority by DICT. That MOA is vital in having the Facebook 2Tbps bandwith capacity available by the end of 2020 which would greatly help our people and economy deal with a new and better normal. It is an important step to our country in becoming an Internet hub for Asia. It is a major key to the Philippine’s overall economic recovery. And it will not cost the government a single centavo,” Rio said.

Nicolas Ojeda, a former top military official and executive at the DICT like Rio, commented in the same Facebook post that the current DICT “bosses” should be asked “to remove their blinders or their reading glasses” so they can see the urgency of the matter.

A week prior to his latest post, Rio also made a scathing statement against DICT assistant secretary Emmanuel Rey “Manny” Caintic, his former subordinate at the agency. Caintic, a former IT executive, has become an influential yet polarizing figure who is said to belong to a clique, along with undersecretaries Eleazar Almalbis Jr. and Jose Arturo de Castro, that is favored by DICT secretary Gregorio Honasan.

Rio wrote when he inquired about his proposal for the integrated contact tracing platform: “I was told that it is still being coordinated with DICT ASec Manny Caintic of the Sub-TWG on ICT of the IATF. Yes, the same ASec Caintic who did not consider my proposal of a central platform for all Covid-19 data, that would have not cost the government anything, when I was still the DICT USec for Operations.”

He added: “Asec Caintic was also the one who vetted StaySafe that became the government’s official contact tracing app on April 22, 2020, in IATF Resolution #27. After four months, StaySafe has not shown its effectiveness in tracing any case of a positively infected person.”

Newsbytes.PH tried to get the side of Caintic but he did not answer calls and messages sent to him.  


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