By Junex Doronio
NOTING THE DAMAGE done by the successive typhoon to the infrastructures of Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson has called the national government to grant the agency’s request of P2-billion emergency fund.
“They (the DICT officials) actually have requested an emergency fund of P2 billion but it has not been acted upon yet. Maybe the national government is also waiting for the PDNA (Post-Disaster Needs Assessment) to be submitted,” Lacson bared during the Senate budget debates on Friday.
The DICT is headed by former Senator and now Secretary Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, a mistah (classmate) of Lacson at the prestigious Philippine Military Academy (PMA).
Lacson is defending the DICT’s proposed funding for 2021.
He also pushed for the approval of P18-billion for the National Broadband Program of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
“This is the new normal. Lahat umaasa sa Internet connection including DepEd (Department of Education), SUCs (State Universities and Colleges), and practically all government agencies. Itulak natin ang P18B na kailangan para sa National Broadband Program ng DICT,” Lacson said in his Facebook post, with a hashtag: #FreeInternetForAll #NewNormal.
But Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon who was interpellating the department’s budget, said the unanswered call by DICT was “not unusual.”
“That’s not unusual because there are so many requests which are not acted upon. On the other hand, DBM (Department of Budget and Management) is saying that many agencies have not been able to use the funds available to them,” the opposition senator said.
Lacson further disclosed that the DICT is still conducting post-disaster needs assessment together with other government agencies.
He pointed out that the department also needs to get information from telecommunication companies first on the damage caused by the recent typhoons on their ICT infrastructure.
“As soon as they (DICT) get the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment, they will provide us a copy. But as of now, there is no provision to reconstruct whatever damage is caused by the typhoons,” Lacson lamented. (AI/MTVN)