by Ma. Cristina C. Arayata, Philippine News Agency | Thursday, 09 June 2016
Among the major challenges that the newly created Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) needs to face is on addressing internet accessibility and the country’s ICT legal framework.
At the sidelines of the Innovative Strategies for Development Summit (ISDS) slated from Wednesday to Friday in Ortigas, Pasig City, Department of Science and Technology – Information and Communications Technology Office (DOST-ICTO) Executive Director Louis Napoleon Casambre revealed that only 17 percent of elementary schools in the country are in internet-providing areas.
”We have to do something about that. Right now, we rely only on the private sector,” he told reporters.
Casambre, however, also noted that if one will look at the economy, there’s also a huge public investment. “That’s what we’ve started to do with the free public wi-fi (project). The government is investing so that access becomes universal,” he said.
The “Juan, Konek! Free Wi-Fi Internet Access in Public Places Project” is among the projects initiated by DOST-ICTO and is ready for full implementation according to Casambre.
It is a project that seeks to provide free internet access to almost all municipalities in the Philippines.
Another thing that the DICT needs to look at is the country’s legal framework on ICT.
”These are antiquated. Our existing laws were crafted during the pre-internet era, in 1996, or even older,” he explained.
”We need to update those things,” Casambre continued.
The ICTO executive director also hinted that the government must encourage Filipinos to use the internet to increase their productivity and know-how, rather than using it only for entertainment and socialization.
Signed into law by President Benigno Aquino III last May 23, the creation of DICT takes effect Thursday.
DICT will be in charge of planning, developing and promoting the national ICT development agenda.
Under the law, all agencies and offices with communications function, such as the DOST-ICTO, will be under the DICT umbrella. (PNA)