The Philippine president Benigno ‘NoyNoy’ Aquino has dismayed the local ICT industry by publishing an Executive Order (EO) that effectively reduces the role of the new regulator, the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT), demoting it to being merely an office operating under the Department of Science and Technology (DoST). Commenting on the signing of EO 47, outgoing CICT commissioner Monchito Ibrahim said the industry ‘feels so bad about this development’, not least because the CICT was being primed to become a fully-functioning agency – the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) – as a result of a number of bills pending in Congress. However, NoyNoy’s EO now effectively demotes the responsibilities of the bureau which will be called the Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO).
GMA News Online reports that the newly created ICTO will be led by an executive director with the rank of undersecretary, who will report directly to secretary of the DoST. Further, the roles of chairman and commissioners of the CICT will be abolished, the report added, and all agencies currently answerable to the CICT will be distributed among the DoST and the Office of the President. As such, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and the Philippine Postal Corporation (PHILPOST) will remain under the control of the Office of the President, while the National Computer Centre (NCC) and the Telecommunications Office (Telof) will be transferred to DoST, to form part of the internal structure of the ICTO. Aquino’s decision is all the more surprising given that he only recently named Oliver Chato as a new commissioner of the CICT.