DICT: Foreign entities, some ‘claim to be our friends,’ try to creep in PH ICT system
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has detected foreign entities – including “some” who “claim to be our friends” – trying to infiltrate the country’s ICT system, Secretary Gregorio Honasan revealed Tuesday.
“Magugulat po kayo sa mga nadidiskubre namin na foreign entities na gustong pumasok sa sistema natin. Hindi lang namin alam kung bakit nila gustong pumasok, and some of them claim to be our friends,” he said during a Senate hearing on the proposed budget of the DICT for 2021.
(You will be shocked at our discovery of foreign entities that want to enter the country’s ICT system. We just don’t know why, but some of them claim to be our friends.)
Honasan was responding to Senator Imee Marcos’ question on why there is no proposed confidential fund in the DICT’s budget for next year.
He said the DICT did not request confidential funds for 2021 since the P800 million confidential fund it proposed in 2020 was retracted because “we (government) have other priorities to attend to.”
According to Honasan, the DICT had a P400-million confidential fund in 2019. But even this amount, he noted, was not enough.
“The P400 million is not even enough to buy the software and hardware that will be obsolete by tomorrow,” he said.
“We have been relegated to a reactive mode. Nasa tracking tayo but we submit our reports directly to the President and we are willing to submit that to the Chair,” he added, referring to Senator Panfilo Lacson who presided over the hearing.
In February, the DICT defended the use of confidential funds for surveillance amid allegations that such activities are beyond its mandate.
The DICT said that confidential expenses, of which P300 million had been spent in 2019, was for the “lawful monitoring and surveillance of systems and networks” in line with its functions that include cybersecurity.
“Ang nakuha lang namin is sa 2019 na 400 [million]. Kagagamit lang po namin at kaka-clear noong last 100 [million] na tranche,” he said.
(What we got is P400 million in 2019. We have just used the P100 million for the last tranche.)
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