[Story updated on 4 July 2016 at 10:00 AM to include the name of the appointed secretary].
The creation of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) will boost the IT initiatives in the Philippines and help the country pick up with other nations when it comes to tech projects.
"With ICT now having the authority at the department level, the country's push to catch up will be much stronger," said Department of Science and Technology- Information and Communications Technology Office (DOST-ICTO) Undersecretary Louis Napoleon Casambre in a Philippine Star's report during the Innovative Strategies for Development Summit (ISDS) 2016.
"Finally, we will have the focus to drive our ICT agenda as a key player for national development," he added.
Last May, former President Benigno Aquino III signed Republic Act (RA) No. 10844 creating the ICT department. The law abolishes the ICTO as well as the National Computer Centre (NCC); National Computer Institute (NCI); Telecommunications Office (TELOF); and National Telecommunication Training Institute (NTTI). All communication-focused units also in the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) will be transferred to DICT.
The law allows for a six-month transition period from effectivity for the full implementation of the transfer of functions as well as assets and personnel.
Last month, Chief Legal Counsel and Senior Advisor of Globe Telecom Rodolfo Salalima was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte to head the new ICT department.
Salalima's first priority will be to lead DICT to make the necessary changes to existing regulations and the legal environment. "[This is because] a lot of our problems stem from our antiquated laws," Casambre explained in the same report.
DOST-ICTO Deputy Executive Director for eSociety Bettina Quimson told the Philippine Star that the current important thing is to create the Implementing Rules and Regulations.
"We need to make sure that the structures are correct moving forward because right now we don't have the people nor the actual capacity for all the things we need to do properly in the countryside," said Quimson. "We should have more regional offices and make sure that we have the budget to ascertain that all the programmes we have can be done properly."
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