Honasan was named secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) last May 20 replacing acting secretary Eliseo Rio, an appointment paper released yesterday by Malacañang showed.
Michael Varcas
It’s official: Gregorio Honasan is DICT chief
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - November 23, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte formally appointed Sen. Gregorio Honasan as information and communications technology secretary a day after the government confirmed Filipino-Chinese consortium Mislatel as the country’s third telecommunications player. 

Honasan was named secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) last May 20 replacing acting secretary Eliseo Rio, an appointment paper released yesterday by Malacañang showed. 

Asked in a press briefing why Duterte appointed Honasan to the post, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said: “Again, always, the basis of the President is trust and confidence, and integrity, his competence.”

Section 11 of the DICT Act of 2015 states that no person shall be appointed secretary, undersecretary, or assistant secretary of the DICT unless he or she has at least seven years of competence and expertise in any of the following: information and communications technology, information technology service management, information security management, cybersecurity, data privacy, e-commerce or human development in the information communication technology sector. 

Pressed if he thought Honasan, a former soldier, is capable of performing tasks related to the fields mentioned in the law, Panelo replied: “It is not for us to decide on that – it will be the Commission on Appointments.” 

“There will be vetting there; there will be shearing, and you will have to respond to questions on his competence,” he added. 

Panelo said the executive department is leaving it to the Commission on Appointments to decide on the appointment of Honasan. 

Honasan was named DICT secretary as the telecommunication industry is preparing for the entry of third player Mislatel, a consortium composed of Udenna Corp., a company owned by Duterte’s major campaign donor Davao City-based businessman Dennis Uy, its subsidiary Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp. and China Telecommunications Corp. Duterte ordered agencies to facilitate the entry of a third telco player last year to improve the internet service in the Philippines, which has been described as slow and costly. 

A graduate of Philippine Military Academy class ’81, Honasan was involved in a series of uprisings against the late president Corazon Aquino, whom he helped install during the historic 1986 People Power Revolution. 

He was granted amnesty in 1992 by then president Fidel Ramos, also an important figure of the 1986 revolt. Honasan was elected senator in 1995 and was re-elected in 2001, 2007 and in 2013. In 2016, Honasan ran for vice president under the party of former vice president Jejomar Binay but lost.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto appealed yesterday to Honasan to retain Rio at the DICT as an undersecretary.

“For one to step up, there is no need for the other to step out. The nation will benefit from the combined skills of this good tandem. Two workhorses are better than one,” Recto said in a statement issued shortly after Malacañang released Honasan’s appointment papers.

He said letting go of Rio would be a waste of talent as the official is a double engineering degree holder, a topnotcher in the Electronics and Communications Engineering board examinations, an academic and former military general. – With Paolo Romero

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