The signing of Republic Act No. 10844, or the law creating the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), last May 23 was one of the last official acts of President Benigno S. Aquino III as he is set to end his term on June 30, 2016. R.A. No. 10844 is definitely one of the significant accomplishments both of the Aquino Administration and the 16th Congress.
The creation of the DICT has long been sought because it is regarded as essential to the much-needed improvements in the state of information and communications technology in our country. It is also regarded as a vital tool in improving our country’s global competitiveness.
Will the DICT be able to do anything more than what the current Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) and other ICT agencies can, given its status as a separate department in the Executive Branch?
One obvious advantage of having a DICT is the focus on ICT development in the country that it should have. With serious problems in the transportation sector, an executive agency that deals with both transportation and ICT simply cannot give both concerns the attention and action they deserve. It is undeniable that the DoTC is simply “too big” for it to be led and managed by just one secretary.
The newly created DICT is expected to play a very significant role in the incoming Duterte Administration as the presumptive President has clearly identified ICT development as among his major thrusts.
Considering the no-nonsense leadership style of presumptive President Duterte, DICT will be on its toes, so to speak, in addressing the current ICT concerns, particularly the dismal internet speed in our country, which is the second worst in Asia and only better than Afghanistan.
The DICT is also expected to put in place policies, programs and infrastructures that will address concerns on cyber crime and cyber security.
ICT is clearly a vehicle for economic development and national competitiveness. Making this real in our country is an equally important challenge for the DICT.
The potentials for DICT to be what every government agency should be – one that advances the interests of the people – are limitless given the same limitless possibilities offered by the continuously growing and developing information and communications technologies.
The signing of the DICT law is certainly a sign of better things to come.