It’s official: the first ever Department of Information and Communications Technology chief under the Duterte administration has been confirmed to be ex-Globe Chief Legal Counsel Atty. Rodolfo Salalima. Salalima, which has been with Globe as early as 1993, has been tapped to become the first ever chief of the newly formed DICT, which was recently signed into law by outgoing president Benigno Aquino.
Atty. Salalima joins a number of Class 1971 San Beda Law graduates that were recently given government posts, which include Arthur Tugade of the Department of Transportation and Communications, as well as Vitaliano Aguirre of the Department of Justice. Both men were classmates of incoming president Rodrigo Duterte.
One of the main goals of the DICT as it was pushed by Senator Ralph Recto was to make application for permits, licenses, and land titles to be easy to apply for using the internet, which would make long lines at government offices a thing of the past.
The new department will also be able to improve public access to ICT infrastructure by making free internet available in government offices and public spaces.
The DICT will also work with the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in “mainstreaming ICT in schools and manpower development to ensure that the country’s human resources are ICT-competent.”
According to the law, there are seven more top positions at the DICT that remain unfilled: three undersecretaries and four assistant secretaries. There’s no word yet on who the Duterte Administration has tapped to fill these positions.
Hopefully the appointment of the new DICT chief coincides with incoming President Duterte’s demand for faster internet in the Philippines. Earlier this year Duterte declared that he was not against letting foreign players enter the market if the existing providers did not improve the internet speed in the country.