DICT unveils priority initiatives

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By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter

THE Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is seeking collaboration with other government agencies as it identified five priority initiatives.

In a Strategic Development Partners’ Forum yesterday, the DICT unveiled five initiatives that will support its promotion of a digital ecosystem in the Philippines. A key element of this list is deploying information officers among government agencies.

“We intend to share with you DICT’s strategic direction and plans, challenges and opportunities, to encourage support in terms of resources and technical-capability building for the department to implement key programs and projects,” DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II said in a speech at the forum.

Attending the event were representatives from the British Embassy, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, New Zealand Aid, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Australian Embassy, Canadian Embassy, Korea International Cooperation Agency, International Labor Organization, United Nations Development Programme and Anti-Red Tape Authority.

“The DICT is initiating this (forum) to provide an avenue for storing ideas of cooperation and future collaboration,” Mr. Honasan said.

The five priority initiatives include: sending chief information officers to other government agencies to lead capacity development and form solid digital foundations; forming a Technical Task Force that will help the DICT in developing the technical soundness of its projects; organizing a Project Management Office that will spearhead digital transformation across all digital initiatives of DICT; holding capacity-building activities to promote a digital-first mindset within the agency; and gathering technical assistance to support the DICT in its research and development.

The DICT said these initiatives will help the easier implementation of five key projects: the establishment of a National Broadband Network; rollout of Free WiFi for All; creation of a Central Business Portal and National Citizens Portal; promotion of ICT-based education through collaborations with the Department of Education and online educational groups; and launch of a Cybersecurity Management System for all government agencies.

These projects come as the DICT ticked off major accomplishments in the past months, including the entry of a new major telecommunications player and the welcoming of more than 20 independent common tower providers.

The DICT is undergoing some administrative changes after the appointment of Mr. Honasan in July. Two new undersecretaries and three new assistant secretaries have been added in the past month, which Mr. Honasan said are leading the agency’s strategic programs.

The new appointees are Jose Arturo C. de Castro and Eleazar H. Almalbis, Jr. as undersecretaries; and Emmanuel Rey R. Caintic, Felino O. Castro V and Vicente Luna Cejoco as assistant secretaries.

“House cleaning muna,” he told BusinessWorld after the forum, referring to the administrative changes that he hopes will help the agency stabilize its direction moving forward.