2 senators back retention of DICT confidential funds | Inquirer News

2 senators back retention of DICT confidential funds

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 10:01 AM October 11, 2023

MANILA, Philippines — At least two senators will push for the retention of the proposed P300 million confidential fund for the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

DICT is one of five agencies given a zero confidential budget next year by a House of Representatives panel.

The four others are the Office of the Vice President, the Department of Education, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).


“I would fight for DICT confidential funds,” Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva said in a Viber message to reporters on Wednesday.


“After the executive session with DICT officials for hours, I am convinced that we need to empower our cybersecurity measures. Rampant din ang cybercrimes so that’s no brainer for me,” he added.

Deputy Majority Leader JV Ejercito, meanwhile, stressed confidential and intelligence funds (CIFs) would be better left to agencies involved in national security and in fighting cybercrimes.

These include the DICT and the Department of Justice through the anti-cybercrime unit of the National Bureau of Investigation, the senator said.

“I am also pushing for agencies like DICT and DOJ, through NBI anti-cybercrime, be given confi[dential] and intel funds in [the] fight against cybercrime. Because this also pertains to national security and cybercrime which victimizes thousands every day, especially the more vulnerable in the society,” Ejercito pointed out in a separate statement.

“Cybercrime is the new enemy of society,” he reiterated.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel Jr., on the other hand, sees the need to not only reduce the confidential fund of the Office of the President (OP) but to also “eliminate” its intelligence fund.


As a civilian agency, Pimentel said the OP “is not and should not be engaged in intelligence-gathering,” considering its workload.

“If the OP is truly busy, then its manpower/personnel shouldn’t have time anymore for surveillance work and intel gathering. Leave that to the specialists in the field of intelligence. Unless these people in the OP have too much time on their hands…” he said.

When asked for his comment on the removal of the confidential funds of the five agencies, Senator Ronaldo “Bato” dela Rosa simply asserted Congress’ power of the purse.

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Pressed further if he supports the decision of the House panel, Dela Rosa said: “I can go either way but I will defer my stand to the pleasure of the majority.”

TAGS: confidential funds, DICT

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