The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is targeting a 70 percent utilization rate of its budget before the end of the year by ramping up its digitization efforts.
In an interview with reporters after a news briefing in Malacañang on Wednesday, DICT Secretary Ivan John E. Uy disclosed they completed a catch-up plan to fast track agency spending of their remaining P7.1-billion budget for this year.
“We have a catch-up plan. So we’ll be hitting by, end of the year, we’ll be hitting about 70 percent [utilization rate] or more,” Uy said partly in Filipino.
The DICT chief noted that one of the highlights of the said plan is the full roll out of their Electronic Local Government Unit System (eLGU) and the Peoples Feedback Mechanism (eReport), which was launched last July.
The e-LGU allows its users to process online their business permits and licenses, local tax, local civil registration, real property tax, and barangay clearance.
Meanwhile, the eReport will enable its users to report any concerns to the Philippine National Police and the Bureau of Fire Protection.
Also part of DICT’s catch up initiative, Uy said, is the e-visa program to help increase tourist arrivals.
“So this year, the remaining part of this year and next year, is what we call scaling, meaning it will be rolled out to more and more areas. We have [many more projects] in store there,” Uy said.
During a budget hearing last month, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) flagged DICT’s low budget spending rate of only 5.6 percent.
Despite their low budget utilization rate this year, Uy said they are requesting for an additional P300 confidential funds next year to boost their campaign against online scammers.
“As I explained earlier, the cyber criminals are very well funded, very well-organized and very highly technical,” he explained.
“We need all the resources possible and all the tools possible in order to go after them. So, the confidential fund is essential in order to conduct intel and investigation in order to go after these criminals,” he added.
DBM said DICT has the third highest intelligence fund request for next year next to the Office of the Vice President (P500 million) and the Department of Justice (471.29 million).