The Philippine blogosphere recently voiced-out their opinions about the broadband capping issue, taking the telecommunications companies head-on. This issue left the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) on the crossfire with no other option but to temporarily quiet the two parties and retreat in the peaceful realm of status quo.
This issue reminded me of an initiative that I believe is long overdue for our government. That is the creation of a Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT). I believe that there some groups already silently working on its creation but not a lot has really been clamoring for this which I strongly believe has to be realized really soon. The current set-up of our government groups the NTC under the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) together with its transportation branches, the LTFRB and LTO. I believe that this is model is very much outdated. The transportation and communications sector has branched out and diversified so much in the past two decades that the affairs of the two are too much to handle for any one agency. It would be nearly impossible for one agency to handle the affairs of both sectors without having one suffer. And unfortunately, in the case of DOTC, it is the communications part who is suffering.
For purposes of illustration, these are the five things that my dream government communications agency should focus on:
1) BROADCAST MEDIA. This includes the management and overseeing anything and everything related to radio and television. I do not know much on this field so I will leave it to the experts to mention them. All I know is that this aspect should still be under the new communications agency.
2) MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS. This arm of my dream government communications agency would moderate the relationship of the telcos and the consumers. This would have been Senator Enrile’s bestfriend during the time he put the telcos on the grilling regarding the “missing load” issue. This would also be the telecommunications companies’ best friend because this agency will help them in making it easy to put up infrastructure that would improve mobile services in the country. If the SIM registration initiative becomes a reality, this arm of DICT will ensure that consumer data are being protected and stored properly. This arm would standardize the service qualities and infrastructure capabilities that telcos need to establish in order to improve the mobile access of the Filipinos.
3) INTERNET COMMUNICATIONS. This arm will also moderate the relationship of the telcos and consumers making sure that
efficient and affordable broadband connections are available to the greater public. The quality of service that the telcos provide us will also be standardized by this arm.
4) INFRASTRUCTURE STANDARDIZATION FOR GOVERNMENT OFFICES. This arm will ensure that all government agencies have equal access to technology by standardizing the equipments used for each. From server specifications, to cabling, to switching protocols, used by government agencies, this make sure that all government agencies meet thier technological needs cost-efficiently. No more over-specified or under-specified appliances that is a waste of taxpayers pesos. This will also help in the consolidation of government data hence, cutting red tape and delays in public services.
5) PHILIPPINE INFORMATION AGENCY. The existing PIA will be absorbed by this agency and include mobile and internet communication channels in their media for communicating with the public. Social media and internet guidelines for all government employees and offices including the armed forces and police will also be drafted and implemented by this agency.
This is my clear vision on how things should be today. Although the details are still very raw, I believe that this is what the “Facebook Nation” needs. The internet and mobile has become a necessity for a lot of Filipinos who depend on it to for their livelihood or for the delivery of government services. Indeed, our increasing dependence on the internet and mobile means that a strong government arm must be put in place to protect the general welfare of the Filipinos who use them.
This is work in progress, please do share you thoughts, inputs, and any suggestion you might have. After all, since we are all considered the boss of this administration – everyone should have a say.