Manila Digital Divide. Is Aquino afraid of ICT, or his Boys?
MANILA - In the digital world, a Downgrade is an abomination, while an Upgrade is in fact an affirmation. With Philippine ICT, Senator Edgardo Angara wants an Upgrade; President Noynoy Aquino orders a Downgrade, so now we have The Manila Digital Divide - if you're not with IT, you're against IT.
On 30 June 2011, Aquino issued Executive Order 47, which abolished the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) under the Office of the President, and created instead a lower-level Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO) and put it under the Department of Science and Technology (DoST). So I know Noynoy Aquino knows How to exercise his executive fiat - I don't know Why.
When it comes to power, let me put it this way:
A Commission has influence; an Office is under the influence.
The President has influence; was this decision under the influence? Where did the President's decision come from: cyberspace or outer space?
So, Noynoy Aquino deleted the ICT Commission under the Malacañang folder and cut-and-pasted the ICT Office under the DoST folder. That goes to show that this President knows how to close Windows. I mean, he closed the Windows marked ICT Commission and opened the Door marked ICT Office. Look: Windows of Opportunity vs Door of Restraint. We Christians know, "When God closes a door, He opens a window." Was Noynoy Aquino trying to prove he knows better?
I could be wrong, but Senator Edgardo Angara and the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP) have come out with the position that what Noynoy has done is neither divine nor knowledgeable.
Me, I'm looking at fuzzy logic: You throw the fuzz and declare the logic. Aquino's decision to downgrade was made public on the very day after the ICT Commission launched The Philippine Digital Strategy 2011-2016. The ICT roadmap was launched 29 June 2011, Wednesday by the ICT Commission; Aquino's EO 47 abolishing the Commission was issued 30 June 2011. Is Malacañang Palace Pinoy's Theatre of the Absurd?
Remember, the Commission was under the Office of the President - to downgrade the Commission right after that monumental announcement by the Commission is more than just deleting a website the day after its existence was announced to the world with much fanfare - it was digital suicide. After 24 hours of exposure in the knowledge universe, you sent your own website, folders and all, to the Recycle Bin?!
Now, since I don't think it was deleted permanently, I am in sympathy with the plea of Edgardo Angara and the gesture of the NICP to move Noynoy Aquino to Undelete the ICT Commission and Undo the ICT Office. Undelete is easy: Press Windows, right click Recycle Bin, click Open; right click icon, click Restore; done!
Could it be that Aquino was merely trying to un-make history? Remember, the ICT Commission was created on 12 January 2004 by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo via EO 269, "to be the government’s primary policy-making and implementing arm in the promotion and development of ICT systems" (TJ Burgonio, 07 July 2011, inquirer.net). Everybody knows there is no love lost between GMA and Noynoy Aquino. Even so, I don't think the downgrade was to spite GMA; instead, I believe it was a system failure - it happened because the Office of the President was not paying attention to itself!
I see this imbroglio as a failure of the Boys of Aquino in Knowledge Management, the new KM. They should have known better. I know now that they are not as avant-garde as they should be. They are now a legend in being behind their own times.
Now then, if not Undelete now, Noynoy Aquino can Autosave the Office of the President by pursuing the creation of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
On 06 June 2011, Angara called on Aquino to be a hero and champion the creation of an ICT Department (edangara.com). The Senator called on the President to back up the proposal to upgrade the Commission to a Department. What happened at the end of the month shows that the ICT Boys of Noynoy Aquino face a steep learning curve.
If those ICT Boys don't know much about the role of information and communications technologies in getting a Third World country like the Philippines to a First World status, what have they been doing with their office-issue Internet-ready laptops?
If those ICT Boys don't appreciate what Angara is saying that the ICT Department "will play a central role in ensuring that the country's business process outsourcing (BPO) industry will continue to expand and generate employment," have they just been emailing their friends?
If those ICT Boys don't know that the Philippines, Myanmar and Timor-Leste are the only countries left with no ICT Departments of their own, have they just been tweeting away their Internet time?
If those ICT Boys don't know that the BPO industry in the Philippines can surpass the remittances from the overseas Filipinos within 5 years, have they just been socializing via Facebook?
If those ICT Boys don't know that the BPO sector is currently worth US $9 billion and employs about half a million Filipinos, with the potential to grow to $25 billion by 2016 employing 1.3 million, have they just been blogging away their insecurities?
If those ICT Boys didn't know that the country has just celebrated the National ICT Month in June ending with the release of the Philippine Digital Strategy under the leadership of the ICT Commission, have they just been monitoring the status of the President by watching him on YouTube?
If those ICT Boys think of ICT as only so much Facebook and Twitter, IBM and Dell, Nokia and Blackberry, what have they been doing in Internet forums?
It those ICT Boys don't think of ICT as the new KM and that with its revolutionary spirit, the Filipino can excel in the world, including in his own country, have they just been mousing around?
If those ICT Boys can't see macro-economics in micro-processors, have they just been Internet-marketing their good ideas that have nothing to do with better ICT for the best of the country?
If those ICT Boys don't accept that the Philippine Digital Strategy envisions Filipinos as "creators - building on and improving existing technology and producing digital content that improves personal productivity and contributes to the national economy," have they just been reading with their lips and thinking with their eyes?
If those ICT Boys can't think of the value of an ICT Department, do I take it to mean that, like the character Capitan Tiago in Jose Rizal's incendiary fiction-nonfiction Noli Me Tangere published more than 100 years ago, they are not afraid of ideas, except if these are new or bold?
Boys, if you're not with US, you're against US!