Downgrading ICT Governance
From being under the Office of the President (OP) and headed by a Chairman with a Cabinet rank , the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) will now be the Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO) under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). The demotion is effected by Executive Order (EO) No. 47 issued by the OP last June 23, 2011. According to the EO, the ICTO shall be headed by an Executive Director, with the rank of an Undersecretary, who shall report directly to the DOST Secretary.
The CICT was created by the issuance of EO No. 269 by then Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2004. The agency was tasked as the “primary policy, planning, coordinating, implementing, regulating, and administrative entity of the executive branch of Government that will promote, develop, and regulate integrated and strategic ICT systems and reliable and cost-efficient communication facilities and services.”
Since its formation, the CICT championed the ICT development in our country and was mainly responsible for assisting local stakeholders from the academe, government, and private sector towards achieving the gains made by the information technology and business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry that raised $9 billion in revenues last year, as well as creating 530,000 jobs. The IT-BPO industry predicts that total employment will increase to 1.3 million and revenues to $26 billion by 2016.
The CICT was formed as an interim agency while Congress has yet to enact a law creating a full-pledged Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT). During the last Congress, the bill for the creation of a DICT was already passed by the House of Representatives but failed to get approved in the Senate on its third reading. However, the bills were refiled and currently pending in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Aside from the authors and sponsors of the proposed law creating a line department devoted to ICT governance in the country, the stakeholders in the IT-BPO industry where internet cafes belong criticized the issuance of EO 47 and urged its recall. They are united in saying that the downgrading of ICT governance by way of the EO will not do good in promoting the local IT-BPO industry.
One year ago, I wrote an article about the state of ICT governance in the Philippines when the present administration was very new. While the President insinuated then that ICT does not rate high in his priorities, I never expected him to cause this kind of downgrading the governance of a sunshine industry that would substantially contribute to the nation’s economy.
For a country who is lagging behind the IT world, demoting the CICT will push us further behind.
I thought IT found an ally with Pres. Noynoy when he called for the IPV6 preparedness (what was that called). But as it turns out, he really has no good intentions for the IT state of the country.
He is just removing everything the previous administration established (caused he had done nothing but to blame the previous government for all the problems the country is facing, just blame, no plans to resolve it).
The EO about the promotion and migration to IPv6 was signed by PGMA not PNoy. Our current President has not made any move benefiting the IT industry in our country. I believe he was influenced to downgrade ICT governance by people around him.
As EO 47 has already been signed and duly implemented by the parties concerned. Other parties outside the government will just wait for sometime to determine the possible after effects. However, since the sudden abolition of CICT has caused great disappointment among the principal stakeholders, then the best way is to support Sen. Angra’s bill creating the DICT. The big players, viz; the telcos and the BPOs, should take the lead in mounting a very strong campaign to marshal nationwide adherents who will exert intense pressure on Congress to pass the DICT bill. Furthermore, assuming P-Noy will veto the DICT bill for whatever reason, the more an avalanche of enormous pressure will be utilized all over the country thereby facilitating the 2/3 majority both in both houses of Congress to overturn such veto. Those who will not support the DICT bill should be apprised of eventual retribution in 2013 elections.
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