November 20, 2020
Manifestation of Senator Pia S. Cayetano
Senate Finance Committee Vice Chair
On the proposed 2021 budget of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT)
Good afternoon to all…
I would really just like to further support the concern of Sen. Recto about the need for DICT to closely coordinate with DepEd. To our good friend, Secretary Honasan, we sponsored the budget of DepEd yesterday. And as Sen. Recto mentioned, 95% of our students do not have access to the internet. So as I was listening to the discussion, I just like to… Maybe they can submit this in writing or we can have a staff meet with us even during this time of the budget, because we want to see that whole picture. I was listening and what Sen. Recto drew from the discussion was that different agencies of government are in charge of different sectors. So parang the connectivity, parang nagta-transmit lang siya pero yung actual access, the LGUs would also have to cough up their own investments.
So worried lang ako, without very clear coordination, the end result that we want, which is the students will have access, still might not happen. Parang andaming butas ng plano natin. So that’s one point, to really see that whole plan mapped out to ensure that at a certain time, and of course, that’s the soonest possible time, we will have access for the students so that we can improve their ability to learn through internet connectivity.
In connection with that, there was mention of last mile and mid mile. I am wondering if the last mile that this agency refers to is the same as the last mile of DepEd. Kasi kung magkasabay yun, I will tell you now… On that note, hindi napondohan ang Last Mile Schools this year. So, paano ba yun? Walang eskwelahan doon, walang teacher doon. Kailangan coordinated. Kaya tama din ang sinabi ni Sen. Recto na pondohan din natin ang mid mile. We have to attack this problem from all angles. Kasi baka mamaya, syempre lahat tayo iniisip natin the most vulnerable, the poorest of the poor. Doon ka magko-connect. And I am not saying huwag ka mag-connect. I am not saying that. Pero walang eskwelahan doon. So does his sponsor get my point? Parang hindi coordinated.
Maybe they can also take the lead na pukpukin sila. I handled the budget of a number of agencies and a lot of them were asking for funding under ISSP, for whatever program, whether it’s enrollment of their members, etc. Of course, alam naman ng ating sponsor, pati ang Philhealth. This requires that DICT endorses. Dapat may sign-off ang DICT doon. So, can we also ask them to confirm that they have the manpower and they can act on this immediately? Kasi I felt so bad that I was not able to endorse the request because wala pang DICT approval. Matetengga lang ang funding noon… So ayaw natin yun. I could only move forward with the request of those who already have the approval and then nakikiusap ang iba na pending na raw or isa-submit na nila and they are assured it will only take a few days. So, is there a way that we can find out, de kahon ba yan na kaya talaga yan in 15 days? I would assume it depends on the magnitude of the project. So just to reiterate that that is so important because that law requires DICT signing off on this. So I felt it would be irresponsible on my end as Chair na i-approve natin, we will set aside a budget for that, yun pala wala pang endorsement ng DICT.
I will support whatever manner the sponsor will initiate. I agree that there has to be one agency that will coordinate these various interlinked projects so that we can also see where our funding is going, we can hold people accountable, walang duplication.
Yun lang naman po. Maraming salamat.