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DICT seeks P2B emergency fund to fix digital infra damaged by typhoons

THE Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has requested for an emergency fund of at least P2 billion to restore the country’s digital infrastructure damaged by recent typhoons, a senator said on Friday.

“They have requested an emergency fund of P2 billion but it has not been acted upon yet. Maybe the national government is also waiting for the PDNA (Post-Disaster Needs Assessment) to be submitted,” Senator Panfilo M. Lacson said as he defended the DICT’s proposed budget for 2021 during Friday’s session.

Mr. Lacson said the department will provide the Senate with a copy of the PDNA.

“But as of now, there is no provision to reconstruct whatever damage is caused by the typhoons,” he said, responding to Sen. Franklin M. Drillon who called the situation “unusual” in his interpellation.

Meanwhile, the DICT proposed an increase in the penalties imposed on telecommunications companies that fail to deliver internet speeds at levels advertised.

Mr. Lacson said the DICT is recommending to increase the penalty to P2 million from P200 per day.

The DICT earlier requested an additional budget of P17 billion for its National Broadband Program, and another P3.6 billion for its free Wifi project. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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