DICT’s National Broadband Program now has P5.9B proposed budget for 2021
MANILA, Philippines — The National Broadband Program (NBP) of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) now has a budget of P5.9 billion being proposed in Congress for 2021.
This is a significant increase from the previous P902 million approved by the Department of Budget Management (DBM) under the National Expenditure Program.
According to Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who was defending the DICT budget in Senate budget debates on Friday, the DICT needs at least P18 billion to complete the NBP.
“Unfortunately, DBM has only allocated P902 million. Under the GAB (General Appropriations Bill), the House of Representatives augmented an amount of P2 billion, and in the committee report, Senator [Sonny] Angara, the chairman of the committee on finance, added another P3 billion, so there is now P5.9 billion for the National Broadband Program,” he said.
“If we consider P5.9 billion, it will cover Phase 1 up to Davao but excluding Regions 1 and 2 and some island provinces like Palawan,” he added.
Lacson reiterated his appeal to senators to support funding for NBP, citing the need for efficient internet services especially under the so-called new normal brought about by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
He said that the national government is estimated to save up to P34 billion in five years once the NBP is completed, excluding estimated savings from internet expenses of local government units (LGUs).
“If we complete the funding requirements by augmenting the necessary amount, then we will have a very efficient internet service available to all government agencies including local government units,” the senator said.
NBP is the DICT’s blueprint for the acceleration of the deployment of fiber optic cables and wireless technologies for the overall improvement of the internet connection in the country.
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