transparency seal

In photo: The “Transparency Seal” of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) taken from their official website.

By Maria Katreena Saguid

THE HOUSE of Representatives ended yesterday the interpellations regarding the proposed 3.5 billion budget of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

The fourth day of national budget deliberations in the House of Representatives began with the interpellations of the DICT’s budget by House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez.

“This is a baptismal for them,” Suarez said referring to the department and its officials who were in attendance. Among them were Secretary Rodolfo Salalima and undersecretaries, Jorge Sarmiento, Eliseo Rio Jr., and Denis Villorente.

Agusan Del Norte 2nd district Rep. Erlpe Amante, speaking in behalf of the DICT, said that 2.2 billion out of the sum amount will be allotted to locally-funded projects.

Part of the DICT’s plans was to establish a national broadband network to improve internet connection in the country, a project that was first introduced by former President and incumbent Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Amante, however, took note that the cost of this broadband project had ballooned to thrice its original price given the rate of today’s technology.

The cost of a cell site is roughly around 10 million pesos.

In a Senate hearing last Thursday, DICT Undersecretary for Special Concerns Eliseo Rio Jr. said that the country has to have 67,000 cell sites to improve internet speed.

The Philippines only has 22,000 at the moment.

Suarez hoped that “every peso and cent” would be spent appropriately by the new department.

House Majority Leader Rudy Fariñas moved to end the interpellations of the DICT’s budget without further questions

The DICT was created under RA No. 10844 which was approved by former President Benigno Aquino III on May 23, 2015.

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