MANILA--President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III has appointed a new chair for the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT), dispelling notions--at least, for now--that the new administration is looking to abolish the country's main ICT policy-making body.
A ranking official at the CICT confirmed Ivan Uy, a tech-savvy lawyer who was formerly the CIO of the country's Supreme Court, has been named the country's new ICT chief.
The CICT and presidential palace, however, have yet to issue a formal announcement regarding Uy's appointment. Dondi Mapa, a former CICT commissioner during the Arroyo government, had let the cat out of the bag via his Facebook account on Friday.
Patricia Abejo, a director at the office of the CICT chair, said in a text message only Uy has been named by Aquino and no commissioners have been chosen yet. Unless new appointments are signed, the agency's current commissioners will serve on a holdover capacity until October, Abejo explained.
It was initially feared that Aquino would scrap the CICT after declaring his opposition to the creation of a separate department for ICT. His defeated vice presidential running mate, Manuel Roxas II, who is now his adviser, is also known to be against the CICT.
Former president Gloria Arroyo had made a last-ditch appeal last year for local lawmakers to establish a Department of ICT (DICT), as the CICT was originally created only to serve as a transitory body to the DICT. Arroyo did not succeed in doing so.
Recognized for previous work
Uy, prior to his new position, had headed the CIO Forum Foundation, an affiliate of a group of CIOs serving in different government agencies. He was also a former professor of commercial law at the University of the Philippines College of Law, his alma mater.
Uy's appointment caught many by surprise since his name was not the shortlist of candidates for the post. The reported frontrunner then was Ignacio "Bambi" Sevilla, a classmate of Aquino at the Ateneo de Manila University and an IBM colleague of Aquino's sister, Pinky Aquino-Abellada.
His appointment, however, was greeted favorably by industry stakeholders that were familiar with Uy in his previous roles, particularly during the time when he spearheaded various IT implementations at the high tribunal during the terms of chief justices Hilario Davide and Artemio Panganiban.
In his stint as the Supreme Court's CIO, Uy also led the court's dissemination efforts to help lawyers understand the technical provisions of implementing rules and guidelines under the Philippines' E-Commerce Law.
Melvin G. Calimag is a freelance IT writer based in the Philippines.