Recto: Bill for new ICT dept passed by June

Rappler.com
Recto: Bill for new ICT dept passed by June
'Permits, licenses, land titles should now be electronically-applied for, processed and issued. Let us leave to the MRT the exclusive franchise of organizing long lines,' says Senator Ralph Recto

MANILA, Philippines – Leave the long lines to the beleaguered Metro Rail Transit and away from government-issued permits, licenses and land titles.

This was the call of Senator Ralph Recto as he vowed to pass legislation that would create the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

In a Sunday, March 1 statement, Recto, who chairs the Senate’s Science and Technology panel, said he will report for floor debates a consolidated version of a bill that would pave the way for the creation of the new department.

“Permits, licenses, land titles should now be electronically-applied for, processed and issued. Let us leave to the MRT the exclusive franchise of organizing long lines,” said the senator.

Recto wants the Senate to pass the bill “before it ends its second session year in June.”

At least 5 bills on the proposed department have been filed before the Senate, by Senators Antonio Trillanes IV, Teofisto Guingona III, Loren Legarda, Joseph Victor Ejercito, and Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara.

The proposed bill would trigger a restructuring of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) and make the existing department responsibly solely for the transportation sector.

During the last Congress, both the Senate and the House of Representatives passed the bill but both houses were unable to convene the bicameral conference committee which is tasked to reconcile the differences between the two versions.

Recto is confident that the bill will pass both houses of Congress again, calling it a “priority measure” for both houses. The Senate President Pro-Tempore also said the Senate’s version will “fine tune” a provision in the bill that was met with “tepid support” for the government’s executive branch.

“It will not create a huge bureaucracy, or burn a deep hole in the taxpayer’s pocket. It will be revenue-neutral, and will maintain, if not lessen, the present operating cost of the agencies which will be folded into it,” said the senator.

Recto added the Senate’s version would “limit the undersecretaries and assistant secretaries.” “Why have a large physical office when one of its mandates is to promote e-governance?” Recto added.

The senator also emphasized the importance of streamlining information and communications technology in the country, calling it a “third utility, after power and water.”

“It is also the third biggest source of dollars after electronics and OFW remittances. It is a growth driver. Every 10 percentage points in broadband penetration is said to boost the GDP by 1%,” he added.

Creating the DICT would also maximize the government’s P2.5 trillion allocated for information and communications technology. – Rappler.com

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