DICT earmarks P13.5 billion for National Broadband Program in 2021

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 22 2020 03:50 PM

MANILA - The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) on Wednesday said it is asking for P13.49 billion next year to expand broadband access in the country.

The DICT’s proposed budget for the National Broadband Program (NBP) for 2021 is almost 45 times larger than the program’s allocation this year of P296 million. 

The DICT said the NBP aims to build and enhance “existing ICT broadband infrastructure to make Internet connectivity pervasive, accessible and more affordable for the public amid the greater need for internet connectivity due to the COVID-19 crisis.” 

“The P13.4 B earmarked for the NBP in 2021 envisions increased public reach of connectivity services by developing and enhancing our digital infrastructures,” said DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan. 

Honasan also proposed a P46.6 billion budget for his department for 2021, which is nearly eight times bigger than its P6 billion budget this year. 

“The call for faster and more accessible Internet connectivity has never been more immediate as we aim to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 crisis while preparing for the demands of the new normal under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte,” Honasan said.

Earlier this year, the DICT budget became the subject of controversy after former DICT Undersecretary Eliseo Rio said the department got P400 million in confidential funds in 2019 and P800 million in 2020. 

The DICT didn't need the funds, Rio said, which were supposed to be used for intelligence and surveillance. 

Rio left the Department in May after Malacanang accepted his resignation, which was filed earlier in February.