February 8, 2012
ANGARA ON DICT BILL: 'LET'S NOT MISS THE BOAT'
Senator Edgardo J. Angara called for the swift enactment of a measure creating an independent government agency focused on the growth and development of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector in the country, despite the ongoing impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Authored and sponsored by Angara, the measure (Senate Bill No. 50 under Committee Report No. 53) creating the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) reorganizes the communications-related agencies under the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) into a separate entity.
Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, noted that the counterpart measure (House Bill no. 4667) has already been approved in the House of Representatives.
"This is already the third Congress where this measure has been filed," said Angara during recent interpellations on the bill. "Given that it has already advanced so far into the legislative process, all the more should we do all that we can to ensure its passage into law.
"Many countries around the world have a separate department dedicated to the development of ICT because they realize it will be the dynamo of growth. As we see, new wealth in the world is being created by ICT," stressed Angara.
Angara, who is also Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science & Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), further underscored that a DICT will provide meaningful support to the Information Technology and Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry, which employs almost 3.5 million people in both direct and indirect jobs.
"The IT-BPO industry in the country is probably the fastest growing sector of our economy," Angara explained. "Right now, it generates US$9 billion and in four years' time, it is expected to increase that revenue to almost $25 billion."
He continued, "This is a better substitute to exporting our people, because if we foster the growth of the industry, we will see the creation of jobs and employment opportunities from the Cordilleras to Sarangani. That's how extensive and pervasive the growth of this industry is.
"But we have hardly scratched the surface. For instance, we haven't scaled up on higher value services like animation, deeper outsourced healthcare and engineering. And that is our ambition--to really grow into a knowledge society, where a DICT will definitely be instrumental in the transition."
Angara said that according to the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Philippines will enter into a forty-year demographic window--where a large working-age population coincides with light dependency burdens--by 2015.
To conclude, Angara emphasized, "We are lucky that we are a young nation. Ahead is a wonderful opportunity for creativity and innovation, which Filipinos I think, already possess. So let's not miss the boat this time. This is a wave of growth and development which we cannot afford to lose."
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