SENATOR Gregorio B. Honasan II on Friday said he is accepting President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s offer to become the next chief of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
“For a better Philippines, a better government, for the Filipino People, and for a better future for our most precious children, I have decided to accept the offer of the President to help lead the DICT,” Mr. Honasan said in a phone message to reporters.
Mr. Honasan’s second term at the Senate ends in 2019. He is the second senator of the 17th Congress to leave the Senate to join Mr. Duterte’s Cabinet, after Senator Alan Peter Cayetano who was tapped to head the Department of Foreign Affairs.
For its part, Malacañang expressed confidence that Mr. Honasan will be able to provide a ”good direction” for the DICT.
“With the entry of a provisional new major player in the telecommunications industry, we are confident that the senator would provide good direction and sound management to the DICT, consistent with the President’s priority programs beneficial to Filipino consumers in the areas of information, communications and technology,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo said in a statement.
He added that the Office of the President has yet to provide the formal appointment paper of Mr. Honasan. “For now, we congratulate Senator Honasan and wish him all the best as he undertakes genuine reforms in the DICT,” he said.
In a phone message to reporters, DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo M. Rio, Jr. said he hopes that the President will give him “a few more weeks to finalize the entry of a third telco player.”
“I would not understand why I have to be changed in midstream of a very important activity that would finally bring a significant improvement in the telecommunication industry. I see no urgency in Senator Honasan taking over, at least until I fully finish this job on the third telco, which I promised the President it would be done before Christmas,” Mr. Rio also said.
The government earlier this week declared the Mislatel Consortium, composed of China Telecommunications Corp., Dennis A. Uy’s Udenna Corp. and its subsidiary Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp., as the provisional winner of the auction for the Philippines’ third major telco. — Arjay L. Balinbin