The Department of Information and Communications Technology is looking at public-private partnerships (PPP) and coordination with the local government units (LGUs) to expedite the government’s implementation of the National Broadband Program (NBP), Secretary Ivan Uy said Tuesday.

“We are exploring possibilities of PPPs with the private sector and also looking at partnering with the LGUs po in deploying some of this connectivity,” Uy said in a Commission on Appointments committee hearing.

He said the LGUs can fund the infrastructure for the NBP while the DICT can provide the bandwidth.

“We can synergize our efforts especially with respect to expenses. For instance there are many LGUs especially, the rich cities that actually have budgets for connectivity, that have budgets for Wi-Fi and we can put up matching funds that the local government can invest in the hardware and we come in and provide bandwidth for the local government,” he said.

Prioritizing connectivity in remote areas is also one of their strategies so they can maximize their small budget for NBP, Uy said.

“With that very small budget, we have to spend it very prudently and very, very wisely. So what we are doing is we are investing actually in the areas that would have the most profound effect on the population and these are the GIDA areas — the geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas,” he said.

“Because for most of the urban areas, they can afford, the city governments…or the provincial governments can afford to provide those kinds of connectivity and so that will be a later priority. So yung mga mas nangangailangan at mas malaki po ang benepisyo don po namin inuuna,” he added

“So these are some of the strategic approaches that we are taking in order to maximize whatever very limited funds that we have in order to deliver digitalization.”

The DICT chief raised this as he mentioned that they would need around P100 billion to provide internet connectivity across the Philippines.

However, Uy said they were only allotted P2.5 billion for 2023 due to the “very low” utilization and absorptive capacity of the previous DICT leadership.

“That is going to change significantly po this year and under the new administration the budget that has been provided will definitely be not enough. We will be able to prove that the utilization rate would be much much more in the coming years,” Uy said. —KBK, GMA Integrated News



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