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House OKs creation of ICT department

In a session on Friday, the House of Representatives agreed to House Bill 6198, which seeks to create the DICT rationalizing and integrating the disparate ICT functions currently divided among the National Telecommunications Commission, the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT), National Computer Center and the Telecommunications Office. Philstar.com/File

MANILA, Philippines - The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a bill creating the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), which shall be the primary government entity to promote and help develop the ICT sector.

The chamber also approved the proposed amendments to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Charter, expanding the powers of the central bank and infusing an additional capitalization of P150 billion.

In a session on Friday, it agreed to House Bill 6198, which seeks to create the DICT rationalizing and integrating the disparate ICT functions currently divided among the National Telecommunications Commission, the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT), National Computer Center and the Telecommunications Office.

The DICT is also mandated to address issues on internet connectivity and ensure stable communications services, aside from designing, implementing and ensuring the protection of an integrated government information and communications infrastructure system.

Aside from representing the country in ICT concerns abroad, the proposed department is to take the lead on cybersecurity and formulate a strong protection and enforcement framework against cybercrime.

It also passed on third and final reading House Bill 5873, which was endorsed to the plenary by the House committee on banks and financial intermediaries, chaired by Batangas Rep. Nelson Collantes.

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The measure increased BSP capitalization from P50 billion to P200 billion. Officials said the BSP sustained losses in the last four years, P24.26 billion in 2013 alone, owing to its efforts to stabilize sharp currency movements.

HB 5873 also expanded the central bank’s authority to obtain information from private entities, build up reserves to cover foreign exchange fluctuations and issue debt securities, which would enable it to siphon off excess money supply. This is aside from expanding BSP’s oversight authority to include credit card companies, moneychangers, e-money issuers, as well as other quasi-bank and non-bank institutions.

 

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