Press Release
July 4, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara warned that downgrading the government's information and communications technology agency could imperil the gains made by the information technology and business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry.

Angara, chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, said that Malacañang's decision to reorganize the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) into the Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO) will dramatically reduce the attention given and resources made available to ICT in the country.

"ICT is a sunshine industry with enormous potential for investment and job generation. It deserves no less than a cabinet portfolio. This is an ironic move that sends the wrong signal to the industry about how much - or little - we prioritize ICT," stressed Angara.

"No less than the IT-BPO industry clamors for a Department on Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to serve as a one-stop shop for their needs and concerns. The industry is at a crucial juncture and the DICT could help sustain its growth to bolster the economy," he said.

The IT-BPO industry raised US$9 billion in revenues last year, as well as created 530,000. The Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) predicts that total employment will increase to 1.3 million and revenues to US$26 billion by 2016. Both the BPAP and the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce (JFCC) are long-time advocates of the DICT.

President Benigno Aquino III signed Executive Order 47 on June 23 putting the newly-created ICTO under the supervision of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). It will also be headed by an executive director, equivalent to the position of undersecretary, in contrast with CICT which had a chairman who held a Cabinet rank.

"In the absence of a full-fledged DICT, the CICT served as the primary policy, planning, coordinating, implementing, regulating and administrative body on strategic ICT development," said Angara.

"The CICT was formed as an interim measure while Congress has yet to establish a DICT. But the ultimate goal has always been to create a DICT. This recent order is diverting us away from that goal," he added.

Angara noted that the Philippines belongs to a minority in Southeast Asia - covering Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Timor-Leste - that remain without a department devoted to ICT.

The CICT had just unveiled its ICT roadmap - the Philippine Digital Strategy for 2011-2016 - a day before Malacañang's decision was publicized last week. Additionally, Malacañang had named Oliver Chato as the CICT commissioner for human capital development a few days before EO 47 was signed.

During the Fourteenth Congress, the bill for the creation of a DICT was already passed by the House of Representatives and was nearly passed in the Senate on Third Reading. Angara has refiled the measure this Fifteenth Congress.

News Latest News Feed