President Aquino of the Philippines signed the Republic Act 10844 last week that created the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) – a body that will focus on all ICT matters, including Internet speed and electronic-related crimes.
The move came as a surprise since the President used to earlier oppose the law, saying its functions were covered by existing agencies. However, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), which was opposed to the formation of the DICT, changed its stance and threw its support behind the bill.
The newly formed department will determine the legal framework for the establishment, operation and maintenance of ICT infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas, in consultation with the local government units, civil society organizations, private sector, academia and all other stakeholders. It has also been given the mandate to establish a free Internet service that can be accessed in government offices and public areas using the most cost-effective telecommunications technology necessary.