A frustrated House Committee on Appropriations Chairman Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Zaldy Co says he somewhat regrets giving into the Department of Information and Communications Technology's (DICT) request for additional funding for the National Broadband Program.
Co slams the poor budget utilization of the DICT.
Appropriations panel chief regrets giving more budget to 'slow' DICT
At a glance
House Committee on Appropriations Chairman Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Zaldy Co says he somewhat regrets giving into the Department of Information and Communications Technology's (DICT) request for additional funding for the National Broadband Program.
Co aired his frustration during an oversight hearing of his committee Thursday, May 25 with DICT officials led by Secretary Ivan Uy.
“Tulungan na lang naming kayo sa procurement ninyo. I think kailangan ninyo ng consultant…it’s been two decades na, yung procurement process niyo talagang pagong e (We'll just help you with your procurement. I think you need a consultant...it's been two decades, your procurement process is really turtle-paced)," Co said.
"If you remember Secretary [Uy], last year I asked you, yung sa NB [national broadband] how much you need para makarating sa Mindanao. Sabi mo sakin, mayroon ka ng P1.5 billion, you just need another P2 billion ba yun or P1 billion. We put that [in the 2023 budget]. I never called you, di kita finollow-up hanggang ngayon. Pero, nagsisisi yata ako (I asked you how much you need to make NB cover Mindanao. You told me, you already had P1.5 billion, you just needed another P2 billion or P1 billion. We put that [in the 2023 budget]. I never called you, or followed up on you until today. But I'm kind of regretting it)," he said.
The House of Representatives has the power of the purse, or authority to allocate money for government expenditure. It is mostly exercised by the appropriations panel during the annual budget season.
Co, a second-term congressman, noted the low budget utilization of the agency, which has resulted in the slow implementation of its projects.
As such, he told the agency to step up and serve as an example in the bureaucracy so that President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s campaign promise of digitization in government would be fulfilled.
“We really want to accomplish and support the plan of the administration na madigitize tayo…Di ba DICT, dapat kayo ang pinakamabilis sa lahat ng agency? Kayo yung digitization (We really want to accomplish and support the plan of the administration for digitization...DICT, aren't you supposed to be the fastest among all agencies? Digitization is your expertise)," Co said.
"Paano kami aasa sa inyo kung kayo pinakamabagal sa process, sa utilization...Kasi for the last two decades, sakit na nd DICT, DOTr (Department of Transportation) and procurement process...pinakamabagal sa lahat ng ahensya (How can we rely on you of you're the slowest in terms of process and utilization...because for the past two decades, process and procurement has been the weakness of the DICT and DOTr...the slowest among all agencies)," he further said.