Senate OKs P9.9-B DICT budget; P280-M confi funds in regular line item budget

Lyza Aquino, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 21 2023 06:40 AM | Updated as of Nov 21 2023 07:35 AM

The Senate approved on Tuesday the proposed budget of the Department of Information and Communications Techonology (DICT) amounting to 9.9 billion pesos for 2024.

During the interpellation, Senate Minority Leader Koko Pimentel inquired about the 300 million pesos that was originally requested by the department as part of their confidential and intelligence funds or CIF.

"I heard the DICT is insistent on the grant of CIF to the tune of P300 million. What is our committee report, did we grant the request of DICT?" he asked.

"Initially they asked for P300 million but now we were able to return P280 million," said DICT's budget sponsor, Sen. Grace Poe. 

Poe said they have realigned or readjusted the said budget for CIF and turned it into regular line-item budget so that the Commission on Audit can monitor and scrutinize the allocation.

“So, when COA does its audit, they will be able to point out what the functions are of the equipment that was purchased. So, we just made it a line item,” she said.

The remaining 20 million pesos from the proposed CIF was scrapped from the budget. 

Senator Risa Hontiveros, however asked about the failure of DICT in submitting their yearend financial reports for 3 consecutive years. Poe admitted this is one of the department’s current issue.

"One of its major concern is their book of accounts, which is really a big mess," she said. 

DICT is now migrating to two different systems to make sure that they can monitor their financial spending.

"As a result the current administration has prioritized the adoption of Electronic National Government Accounting System, (ENGAS) and electronic budget system e-system with the help of COA," she added.

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