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Senator proposes intelligence fund for DICT 

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Senator Raffy Tulfo on Wednesday proposed to allocated a P400-million intelligence fund of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) that can be used to help strengthen the country’s cybersecurity amid the proliferation of text scam messages, according to a report by GMA News.

During the budget deliberations on the agency’s 2023 proposed budget, Tulfo questioned why the DICT has no allocation for intelligence funds compared to other government offices that “do not need” it.

“Marami pong mga departamento sa ating pamahalaan na di naman talaga kailangan ng intel funds and yet nabibigyan sila by the hundreds, by the millions. Pero ito pong isang ahensya tulad ng DICT na kailangan na kailangan natin to fight cybercrime lalo't ngayon po sa pagdami ng mga text scam kung tawagin sa social media at nalalagay na po sa panganib ang ating cybersecurity, eh bakit di natin bigyan ng intel funds?” said Tulfo.

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“Ito pong DICT na napakaimportante para sa kanila, makapagtrabaho sila nang maayos. Maprotektahan 'yung ating cyberspace,” he said.

While it doesn’t have an intelligence fund, Senator Grace Poe, the sponsor of the DICT budget, said the agency may get its much-needed information from telecommunication companies such as Globe and Smart in investigating the scam messages.

Tulfo, however, insisted it would be better for the DICT to have its own funding to prevent it from being indebted to the telco companies.

“Ang balita ko dati may P400 million na intel fund pero mukhang nagamit sa eleksyon…So siguro po kailangan ibalik ito because they really need the intel fund para sila ay makapag-operate against scammers,” he said.

Poe then explained the obligation is under the telco companies’ agreement with the government.

“Nag-iingat din ang mga telco. Sapagkat, napapasailalim ng DICT ang NTC at pag di po sila nakipagtulungan sa ahensya ng gobyerno doon sa kanilang mga pangakong commitment...pwede rin sila mawalan ng prangkisa at magkaroon ng penalties. Kaya di naman po malaking utang na loob. Ito po ay isang kasunduan sa pagitan ng DICT and NTC at telco,” she said.

Further, Senator Poe said the DICT did not submit a proposal for intelligence fund as part of its 2023 budget.

“Wala silang sinubmit sa ating committee na intelligence fund pero tama po kayo nasa tamang paghawak ng pera yun. Di naman ibig sabihin na kung may intelligence fund ay masama  na kaya lang dapat naaayon sa mandato ng ahensya at sa panig ng DICT, tingin ko ang kailangan nila kung resonable naman siguro pwede tayong humiling sa chairman ng Finance Committee na magkaroon ng espasyo para rito?” Poe said.

“Pwede pa namang ipropose ito na galing sa inyong tanggapan at pwede nating isumite. Tingnan natin kung ito ay maa-adopt ng chairman ng committee ng ng finance,” she added.


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