Press Release
June 6, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara urged the Aquino administration to support the creation of a Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) which will be instrumental in transforming the country into a knowledge-based economy.

He added that the DICT will play a central role in ensuring that the country's business process outsourcing (BPO) industry will continue to expand and generate employment.

The Senate Committee on Science and Technology held a public hearing today on the three bills authored by Angara, Trillanes and Santiago. The hearing also tackled the Data Privacy bill, which seeks to protect personal information and ICT systems in the public and private sector.

"In order to create a knowledge-based economy in the Philippines, we must first put in place measures that will uphold the integrity and security of data, information, communication and technology-based systems," explained Angara, who is also sponsoring the Cybercrime Prevention Act.

He said it is about time the government pushes for its own DICT, as the country has already fallen far behind its Southeast Asian peers in this regard.

Participants pointed out that only the Philippines, Myanmar and Timor-Leste do not have a department dedicated to the development of ICT. "It is a pity that we have allowed our country to be overtaken by our historical contemporaries in development."

Angara added that at stake is the future of the BPO industry. The Business Processing Association of the Philippines has said that the country's BPO industry is in a position to surpass the remittances from overseas Filipinos by 2016.

The Philippines' BPO sector is currently worth US$9 billion and employs about half a million Filipinos. BPAP said that based on modest estimates, it has the potential to grow to US$26 billion by 2016, employing 1.3 million people.

Meanwhile, remittances stood at approximately US$18.8 billion in 2010, posting an average annual growth of 5.8 percent, based on data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

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