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The Senate and the House of Representatives have augmented the budget of the Department of Information and Communications Technology’s national broadband program, but it is still not enough.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Friday the two houses added P5.9 billion to the broadband program’s budget but it is still way short of the P18 billion it needs to be fully implemented.

“Right now, the DICT needs at least P18 billion to complete the National Broadband Program. Unfortunately, the Department of Budget and Management has only allocated P902 million. Under the GAB, the House augmented P2 billion and in the (Senate) committee report, Sen Angara, the chairman of the committee on finance, added another P3 billion. So there is now P5.9B for the NBP,” Lacson, who sponsored the DICT’s 2021 budget, said in response to questions from Sen. Grace Poe.

With just P5.9 billion, the DICT would be able to implement only Phase 1 including the areas from Metro Manila to Davao, but minus Regions 1 and 2 and some island provinces like Palawan.

Earlier, Lacson said the NBP could bring some P34 billion in savings for the national government in five years.

After his revelation, Lacson reiterated his appeal to his colleagues to throw their support behind the broadband program.

“This is the new normal. Lahat umaasa sa internet connection including DepEd, SUCs, and practically all govt agencies. If we complete the funding requirements by augmenting the necessary amount, we will have a very efficient internet service available to all govt agencies including LGUs,” he said.

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