With the formal assumption of power of the new administration, the guessing game has started concerning the fate of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT).
So, while industry observers are anticipating the appointment of its next chair, they are also keenly awaiting to find out whether newly elected President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino would retain the agency or not.
Not being a full-fledged department, the CICT was not included in the list of agencies that were provided with a secretary or head by Aquino.
The ICT authority is without a formal chair now after Aquino issued a directive declaring all appointive officials as resigned unless they are career executive service officers (CESO). The CICT chief and his commissioners were all appointed by former President Gloria Arroyo.
As I have written in a story concerning the future of the ICT agency, its existence or relevance under the new administration appears bleak. Not only its chances of being transformed into a Department of ICT (DICT) appear nil, its very existence as an agency seems to be in real jeopardy.
During the campaign period, Aquino said in a television interview that he is categorically against the establishment of the DICT--a similar policy enunciated by his defeated vice presidential bet Manuel "Mar" Roxas II, who is now the president's trusted adviser. Interestingly, Aquino did not present any ICT agenda during his campaign.
Roxas is still probably hurting from his "skirmish" with the CICT when he was still secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). During his stint as trade chief, Roxas pursued some projects, particularly the PC for Public Schools program and the e-Services Expo, that somehow overlapped with the functions of the CICT.
Instead of coordinating with each other, as is the common practice in the bureaucracy, Roxas exchanged brickbats with the CICT chair Virgilio "Ver" Pena.
Apart from Roxas's utter distaste for the CICT, another obvious reason going against the agency is the fact it was a creation of Arroyo. Everyone in the Philippines knows that there's no love lost between the Aquino and the former president.
Although Roxas--and Aquino--have their reasons for the position that they have taken, I'm still with the opinion of the greater number of industry stakeholders--that the country needs a separate agency or department that would exclusively develop and look after the welfare of the local ICT industry.
Industry Update NetApp's entire local staff, at least three of its Filipino executives, has been gobbled up over the last four to six months by its bigger rival EMC. NetApp's former country chief, Neil Ocampo, is now the local head of RSA, the security division of EMC. His top technical lieutenants Joubert Uriarte and Bryan Beronilla, meanwhile, are now with EMC Philippines. NetApp has designated Indonesian Steven Law as the concurrent country manager for the Philippines, Vietnam, and his home country Indonesia.
Michael Mondragon, the No. 2 man at homegrown PC maker RedFox, has left his post as vice president sales and marketing at the company. There's no information yet as to where Mondragon, a veteran IT sales executives, is headed next.