February 16, 2012
ICT IS CRUCIAL TO THE PHL ECONOMY - ANGARA
In a keynote speech, Senator Edgardo J. Angara emphasized the significant contribution of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and various ICT-enabled industries to the Philippine economy.
Speaking to the attendees of the 1st General Membership Meeting of the Infocomm Technology Association (ITAP), Angara said, "You really are the crucial, critical sector of our economy. I am convinced our nation will be able to grow and prop itself up on account of ICT."
Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology continued, "Now, thanks to ICT, we are directly employing 600,000 young people in the IT-BPO [Information Technology and Business Process Outsourcing] sector and one and a half million in indirect jobs. We're generating almost $12 billion in foreign exchange and in four years' time, we see that both employment and revenues could more than double.
"Imagine if our farmers are able to do remote sensing now and be able to tell whether their soil is good, whether crops are going to be bountiful, or whether they're going to face drought," added the veteran lawmaker, underscoring the broad benefits of ICT.
For this reason, Congress is pushing for a trio of bills that will create a hospitable, friendly environment that is supportive of ICT.
Angara, who is also the Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science & Technology and Engineering, is the author and sponsor of the Cybercrime Prevention Act (SBN 2796), the Data Privacy Act (SBN 2965) and the DICT Bill (SBN 50).
The Cybercrime Prevention Act seeks to create a legal framework for the detection, investigation, apprehension, prosecution and prevention of such Internet-related crimes as hacking, identity theft, online fraud, spamming, child pornography and cybersquatting.
The Data Privacy Act makes it mandatory for public and private entities to protect and preserve the integrity, security and confidentiality of any personal information submitted by customers, especially through digital means.
The DICT Bill calls for the creation of a new Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), which will result from the reorganization of key communications-related agencies under the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).
"As I see it, policy on ICT has been fragmented and not centralized for so long. We need one agency wholly dedicated to thinking about how we can develop and grow our ICT sector," said Angara.
He concluded, "When these get passed, I hope that the executive will be as enthusiastic and vigorous in picking them up and implementing them as quickly. I have no doubt that they will because I think it's almost suicidal to close our eyes to the reality of how much ICT can help us leapfrog out of poverty."
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