No more secret funds as DICT gets P280M 'line budget' instead — Poe | Inquirer News

No more secret funds as DICT gets P280M ‘line budget’ instead — Poe

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 02:09 PM November 21, 2023

MANILA, Philippines— Instead of a confidential fund, the Senate has decided to give the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) a line budget item amounting to P280 million next year.

This was disclosed early Tuesday morning on the Senate floor when Senate Minority Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III asked about the DICT’s proposed P300 million confidential fund for 2024.

“Initially, they were requesting for that confidential fund and in fact, they made a quite strong case about it,” said Senator Grace Poe, sponsor of the DICT budget.


“But the committee was able to find a way so that we will still be able to supply the needs of the DICT for them to be able to do their functions properly, but now in a line budget item, so that’s easier for us to be able to monitor how it is implemented,” Poe said, referring to the Senate finance committee.

Of the proposed P300 million confidential fund, Poe said the finance panel was “able to return P280 million” to the DICT.

Below is the breakdown of the new budget item as enumerated by Poe:

  • For components, network, detection, and response called the NDRs: P72.3 million
  • For the security of operations software: P48.2 million
  • For advanced anti-virus systems: P79.7 million
  • For the manpower 24/7 staff to monitor the National Security Operations Center control: P19.8 million
  • For vulnerability assessment and penetration testing tools: P20 million
  • For Mobile Security Operation Center consists of portable hardware and software: P40 million

“So, when COA (Commission on Audit) does its audit, they will be able to point out what the functions are of the equipment that was purchased. So that’s why we just made it a line item,” Poe explained.

The senator stressed that no peso was left for DICT’s confidential fund.

“Wala ng confidential fund at all. We didn’t also put a line item budget for it because we didn’t see the need for it,” said the senator.


Senators unanimously agreed earlier to remove the controversial confidential funds of government agencies performing civilian functions, including the DICT, the Office of the Vice President, and the Department of Education (DepEd), following criticisms from various sectors.

Vice President Sara Duterte concurrently sits as DepEd Secretary.

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TAGS: budget, confidential fund, DICT, Grace Poe

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