PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III signed on Monday a new law creating a Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Malacañang said.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Aquino signed Republic Act no. 10844, which will also rename the present Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to “Department of Transportation.”
RA 10844 states that information and communication have vital roles in nation-building and that it is the state’s policy to “ensure universal access to quality, affordable, reliable and secure ICT services.”
It should also “ensure the provision of a strategic, reliable, cost-efficient and citizen-centric information and communications technology infrastructure, systems and resources as instruments of good governance and global competitiveness.”
Coloma said the following agencies will be abolished and transferred to the DICT:
- Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO)
- National Computer Center (NCC)
- National Computer Institute (NCI); Telecommunications Office (TELOF)
- National Telecommunications Training Institute (NTTI)
- and all operating units of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) with functions and responsibilities dealing with communications
“As provided for in the law, the DICT shall be headed by a Secretary, who will be assisted by three (3) Undersecretaries and four (4) Assistant Secretaries,” Coloma said.
He said two of the three undersecretaries and two of the four assistant secretaries should be career officers.
“One of the four (4) Assistant Secretaries shall also be a licensed professional electronics engineer,” the secretary said.
The law requires that the secretary and his undersecretaries and assistant secretaries should have “at least seven (7) years of competence and expertise in any of the following: information and communications technology; information technology service management; information security management; cybersecurity, data privacy, e-Commerce, or human capital development in the ICT sector.”
Regional offices will be created to help implement plans and programs while there is an option to form “sectoral and industry task forces.”
RA 10844 provides for 6 months transition period “for the full implementation of the transfer of functions, assets and personnel.”
The new law defines information and communications technology as “the totality of electronic means to access, create, collect, store, process, receive, transmit, present and disseminate information.”
Its powers and functions include policy and planning; improved public access; resource sharing and capacity-building; and consumer protection and industry development.
Below is a copy of the new law. /rga/AC