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Saturday, October 29, 2011

THE PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT AND THE DISSOLUTION OF CICT

On June 23, 2011, PNoy issued EO 47, stating the dissolution of the Commission on Information and Communication Technology. Some points I noticed are:
• The order was issued on National ICT Month
• The order was issued one week before the Philippine ICT Summit
• The order was issued two days after Oliver Chato was installed as a new commissioner for the CICT. The only information that most of our ICT fellows know about this guy is that he is the son of a Camarines Norte reperesentative, and he was a part of the local Sun Microsystems office, and now owns an ICT service company.

From what I understand from the points given above, it seems that the government is poking fun at our ICT industry. PNoy thinks that a proper ICT office for administration, regulation and enforcement, is just an accessory and deemed as one of the least important priorities by the current government, as said by presidential spokesperson Sec. Herminio Coloma Jr. Saying that an ICT department is one of the least concerns, is like saying that the government does not want to nurture the talent and business of the ICT industry in the country.

A statement from the IT-BPO Associations regarding the Executive Order 47 expresses their disappointment that there was no public consultation before the EO was penned down. Even Senator Edgardo Angara saw this "downgrade" as detrimental to the development of ICT businesses in the country, and may block positive effects that the nation can gain through the establishment of a true ICT department.

During the National ICT summit, and before EO 47 was publicly announced, CICT Secretary Ivan John Enrile Uy revealed a roadmap for the Philippine Digital Strategy, that he hopes will guide in building the ICT infrastructure in our country. Among other flaws in this PDS is its concept of a "national broadband policy"; to provide a broadband infrastructure on independent government departments, which have their own budget and sentience, instead of providing infrastructure on a local level. Though this PDS caused disappointment among some of us in the small-to-medium ICT businesses, it was nothing compared to the direct message that the administration trashed hopes that the government will lend a hand in ICT's nation-building.

While some of us believe that restoring the CICT is important, what we can clearly see here is that the establishment of a independent Department of Information and Communcations Technology is the only way to go. For this reason, I would support Senator Edgardo Angara and Representative Freddie Tinga for the quick passage of Senate Bill 50, or better known as the Department of Information and Communications Technology Act. Based on SB-50, these following goals can be achieved:
• Provide a high-speed, cost-effective internet infrastrature for the masses and local businesses.
• Encourage the growth of locally-created ICT businesses, content, utilization and production of digitally-created products and services.
• Improve the standing of the Philippines as an Informations and Communications Technology hub, not only in the eyes of foreign investors, but more importantly to Filipino small-and-medium ICT entrepreneurs.
• Create a national body that will identify, combat, and mitigate digital threats that may pose a risk to national security.

And hopefully, when the new Department has been passed and recognized, it will help us reach the goal of a better internet in terms of infrastructure, policies, and regulations, that these telecommunications operators have been belaying for a call to a broadband cap and not minimum guaranteed speeds, and sidestepping this broadband issue to reduce interconnection costs among telcos, when we all know that our rates are among the lowest in the world, and ignoring in favor of their monopolistic policies and capitalistic cartels. OJ, TIBI.PH July 11 2011

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