THE Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is exerting efforts to advance the country, making a digital Philippines.
Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gringo Honasan told the House Committee on Appropriations during the budget he is hoping for a faster and more affordable data connection at the soonest possible time and asking for a budget of P5.1 billion for 2020.
In his presentation, Honasan said the initiatives of the DICT are aligned with the idea of establishing an innovative, safe and peaceful nation.
He added that their thrusts towards a digital Philippines, which include programs on forming a digital government, a digital workforce, and digital communities.
“These are only ideas we can only imagine, so far. Kaya po kami dumudulog sa inyo, dahil the whole concept is just a glimpse of the future, far from the reality of the present. The vision of a digital Philippines is an arduous task, and we really need to work hard for it,” Honasan said.
Appropriations Committee vice chairman Bulacan Rep. Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado said the House of Represenatatives will study the proposal of the DICT.
“Pag-aaralan po namin nang masidhi ‘yung inyong proposal upang hindi mag-suffer ‘yung ating mga kababayan sa napakabagal na mobile data. Ito pong panahon na ito, alam po nating lahat, na ‘yung data parang necessity na ‘yan,” the solon said.
DICT Assistant Secretary Felino Castro V said while average data connection in the country is at 4 Mbps, the agency is already working on installing free WiFi in public areas across the Philippines that would offer a data connection of at least 10Mbps.
He explained that the DICT can complete the installation in about 104,000 sites nationwide by the end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term in 2022.
Meanwhile, DICT Undersecretary Eliseo Rio Jr. told the solons that a major solution to slow data connection is the lack of existing cell towers, with the Philippines having one of the lowest tower densities in Asia. He proposed that to provide sufficient funding for the DICT that would allow them to mount a total of 50,000 cell towers to address the data needs of the Filipinos.
When Rep. Jose Atienza Jr. (Party-list, BUHAY) asked about the public clamor against radiation-emitting cell towers being mounted within their communities, Rio assured that these cell sites will not cause harm to the health of those residing within the vicinity of cell towers.