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Friday, July 31, 2009

RP has new information technology commissioner

The Philippines’ Commission on Information and Telecommunications Technology (CICT) now has a new commissioner.

Graciano Sitchon, the agency’s executive director, has recently been appointed to head the body, replacing Lorenzo Formoso III.

Sitchon will also sit as head of the Telecommunications Office (Telof), CICT chair Ray Anthony Roxas-Chua said last week.

Besides being Formoso’s deputy at Telof and the CICT’s second-in-command, Sitchon is also a lawyer like Formoso.

Formoso’s resignation came after the Telof was again transferred back to CICT from the Department of Communications and Technology (DOTC).

The Telof was first put under the CICT when the latter was created by Executive Order 269 in 2004. However, it was reverted to the DOTC in 2007.

While under the DOTC, Formoso was embroiled in the NBN-ZTE controversy, defending the government by acting as the transport agency’s legal counsel.

As the new Telof chief, Sitchon will also assume the position of CICT commissioner alongside Angelo Tim Diaz de Rivera, Monchito Ibrahim, and Consuelo Perez.

The Telof is in charge of the Information Infrastructure Group of the CICT which focuses on universal access and provision of ICT-related services in unserved and underserved areas.

For many years, Telof has been working to convert its nationwide network of calling stations into community eCenters where rural folk can be trained to use modern technology.

At the Next Wave Cities annual report launch, Roxas-Chua said he is desperately hoping that the bill creating the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) would still be passed by Congress.

“Unlike a full-fledged department, the problem with CICT just being a commission is that it can be easily demolished by the next administration. All that is needed by the next president is to sign another EO. That would be the end of the programs we’ve put up over the years," he said.

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