President Aquino signed yesterday Republic Act 10844 creating the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT). Photo
P-Noy signs law creating ICT dep’t
Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) - May 24, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino signed yesterday Republic Act 10844 creating the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), answering a clamor for a government agency that is focused on ICT matters, including Internet speed and online or electronic-related crimes. 

Under RA 10844, the Department of Transportation and Communications will be renamed the Department of Transportation. All of its units with functions and responsibilities dealing with communications will be abolished along with the Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO), National Computer Center (NCC), National Computer Institute (NCI), Telecommunications Office (TELOF) and National Telecommunications Training Institute (NTTI).

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), the National Privacy Commission (NPC) and the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordination Center (CICC) will be attached to the DICT for the coordination and implementation of the country’s cyber security policies and programs.

The DICT will also work with the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in “mainstreaming ICT in schools and manpower development to ensure that the country’s human resources are ICT-competent.”

As provided for in the law, the DICT shall be headed by a secretary, assisted by three undersecretaries and four assistant secretaries, who have at least seven years of competence and expertise in any of the following: ICT, information technology service management, information security management; cyber-security, data privacy, e-commerce or human capital development in the ICT sector.

The law provides for a six-month transition period for the full implementation of the transfer of functions, assets and personnel. Meantime, “the existing personnel shall continue to assume their posts in holdover capacities until new appointments are issued.” 

The President used to oppose the law, saying its functions were covered by existing agencies but the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), which earlier blocked the formation of the DICT, changed its instance and had since thrown its support behind the bill.

Under the law, the DICT will prescribe rules and regulations for the establishment, operation and maintenance of ICT infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas, in consultation with the local government units, civil society organizations, private sector and the academe.

It is also mandated to establish free Internet service that can be accessed in government offices and public areas using the most cost-effective telecommunications technology, through partnership with private service providers as may be necessary.  With Eva Visperas

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