By Beatriz Marie D. Cruz, May 22,2023; BusinessWorld 

THE DEPARTMENT of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) needs intelligence funds for cybersecurity operations this year and a provision for an annual allocation under a proposed bill, an official of the agency told senators on Monday. 

DICT Assistant Secretary for Legal Affairs Renato A. Paraiso said in a joint Senate hearing that the department has “zero budget” for intelligence funds. 

It is also part of our wish list for (the) E-government (bill) because its not part of the House version,” Mr. Paraiso said. 

He added that the funds will be for DICTs data gathering, noting that the agency has no visibility right now. 

Intelligence funds, based on a 2015 joint government circular, are intended for intelligence and counter-intelligence activities that have a direct impact on national security. It may also be used for special projects on internal security operations, and peace and order activities.  

Senator Rafael T. Tulfo acknowledged that the DICT will need intelligence funds to help address national security threats.  

The Senate committee is deliberating over 18 measures relating to the E-Governance/E-Government Act, which the House of Representatives passed in March.  

Senator Alan Peter S. Cayetano, who presided the hearing, said E-Governance will “make government services more efficient, less prone to corruption, and more inclusive.”  

A technical working group was formed to fine-tune a consolidated measure.