Monday, February 15, 2016

Recto pushes for creation of ICT, water and sanitation agencies

LEGAZPI CITY, Feb. 14 (PNA) -- Senator Ralph Recto said on Saturday he would push for the creation of the Department of Information, Communications and Technology (DICT) and the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) to solve the communication inter-connectivity and water resource problem in the country.

At a press conference here, Recto said he was the principal author of a Senate bill that would create the new information, communications and technology agency tasked to carry out regulatory programs of the country's information and telecommunications industry.

The proposed DICT will regulate and oversee the functions of various public and private telecommunication providers operating in the Philippines.

Recto expressed dismay over the poor interconnectivity services given by a number of telecommunication companies operating in the country.

"We have the highest rate being paid in Internet fees among Asian countries," he added.

The Batangas senator said the transfer would unburden the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), which apparently failed to accomplish its communication regulatory functions.

"If I have my way I would merge the functions of communication of the DOTC to the new DICT while the transportation functions would be transferred to the Department of Public Works and Highways."

Recto was short of saying that the merging of various functions of the DOTC would abolish the agency as a department and make it a planning body tasked to prepare the country's transportation plan while its implementation would be done by the DPWH.

In justifying the merger, Recto said that in building and maintaining airports, seaports and road terminals, what are needed are civil works engineers and planners, which the DOTC does not have.

"Once you plan to build sky ways, airports, seaports and train railways, you need to have engineers," he said.

The Batangas lawmaker said that if given the chance and be reelected senator in the next Congress, he would file another bill creating the Department of Water and Sanitation, the agency that will be responsible for managing the water resources of the country.

These include regulatory functions over various water districts and river basins.

When asked about his stand on raising additional revenues and taxes, Recto was quick in saying, "We don't need to raise taxes, what is needed is the efficient implementation of our revenue collection measures being carried out by our tax-collecting agencies like the Bureau of Customs and the Bureau of Internal Revenue."

He was with the Liberal Party bets led by LP presidential standard bearer Mar Roxas and vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo where they held a grand motorcade in several towns and cities in Albay.

The LP team was warmly welcomed by thousands of supporters wearing yellow shirts led by Albay Gov. Joey Salceda and town mayors at the jampacked Albay Astrodome in this city.

The team also held rallies at the Tabaco City Public Market grounds led by former Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman who is running for Albay's 1st congressional seat in lieu of his son Grex Lagman, the incumbent 1st District congressman.

The LP team was also warmly welcomed in Ligao City by thousands of supporters also in yellow shirts led by Albay Rep. Fernando Gonzalez and City Mayor Pat Gonzalez-Alsua with town mayors and local officials in the 3rd District of the province. (PNA) SCS/FGS/MSA/CBD/SSC