House approves regulator bill on second reading, though unclear future for department

14 Oct 2011

The House of Representatives in the Philippines has approved on second reading a bill that proposes the creation of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), which would be formed from the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) with increased responsibilities. A similar version of the bill is currently pending in the Senate. According to a report by local news source Gmanews, the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) also announced that it was no longer opposing the creation of the DICT, although it was not clear if the agency was supporting the passage of the bill. The future structure of the country’s regulatory authorities remains up in the air, as TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database says that in early-July 2011 the president of the Philippines published an Executive Order effectively reducing the role of the recently formed CICT, and demoting it to an office operating under the DoST, with a proposed new name, the Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO). Under the Order, the newly created ICTO would be led by an executive director with the rank of undersecretary, reporting directly to secretary of the DoST. Further, the roles of chairman and commissioners of the CICT would be abolished, and all agencies currently answerable to the CICT distributed among the DoST and the Office of the President.