MANILA — The Commission on Appointments (CA) on Wednesday unanimously confirmed the ad interim appointment of Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan as Secretary of the newly-created Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
His appointment was endorsed by several of his former colleagues in the Senate as well as congressmen members of the CA.
The chair of the CA’s Committee on Information and Communications Technology, Negros Occidental 6th District Rep. Genaro Alvarez Jr., was the first to endorse Honasan’s confirmation to the CA plenary.
“After thorough deliberation, the committee has determined that Mr. Honasan is fit and qualified as secretary of the DICT. I move for the confirmation of the ad interim appointment of Mr. Gregorio Honasan II as secretary of the DICT,” Alvarez said.
The endorsement was seconded by several CA members.
Among them was Senator Cynthia Villar who said Honasan is “very qualified for the position.”
“As a new member of the Cabinet, Honasan is backed by a wealth of experience which justifies the vote of confidence of President Rodrigo Duterte himself about his qualifications,” Villar said.
“It is a bonus that Honasan will work alongside his mentor in the military and predecessor in the post, now DICT Undersecretary for Operations, Eliseo Rio Jr., who also speaks highly of Honasan’s qualifications, particularly as an expert in information security management, the main area of discipline under the DICT,” she added.
Senator Joel Villanueva also believes that the former senator is the best person for the job.
He said that DICT’s biggest challenge is not the integration of information technology into our daily lives, but to ensure that information technology will not deepen our human misery as people.
“Information technology is both a blessing and a curse and we cannot allow it to turn its back against us and cause us more miseries. We need a person that will bring technology to a direction that is right, ethical and just,” the lawmaker said.
“We support the confirmation of Honasan as DICT secretary because we believe that he can act as the ‘Big Brother’ who can ensure the use of ICT as a tool for national development, and not as a tool to further cause human misery in our beloved nation,” Villanueva said.
Meanwhile, San Juan City Rep. Ronaldo Zamora said there is no question that “we are dealing with a singular individual who is extremely qualified to take this position.”
He said Honasan’s mission is to lead the Philippines in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
“His mission is to launch another revolution and dream it. More than 30 years ago, he helped wage one and he succeeded. For the sake of the generations which will come after us, he needs to win again,” Zamora said.
He noted that the seeds of the Fourth Industrial Revolution — algorithms, Wi-fi connectivity, 5G networks, and 3D printing, among others — is being sowed today.
“All of these and the systems crucial tho their delivery must be installed and institutionalized by the DICT,” Zamora said.
“Winning the fourth industrial revolution requires cathedral thinking. In this, I have confidence in the ability of Honasan to strengthen our nation’s ICT foundations and lay those building blocks,” he said.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, meanwhile, said the DICT should be led by someone who does not only possess an impressive record and impressive managerial skills but also someone who possesses extensive background on intelligence communication.
“Honasan possesses all these qualifications. He is a person of unquestionable integrity and his unequivocal dedication to both humanitarian and public service are unparalleled,” he said.
“He is the epitome of an incorruptible public servant. With his strategic reform program for the DICT, we are a step closer in achieving the 10-point socioeconomic agenda of the Duterte administration,” Zubiri said.
Senator Grace Poe also vouched for Honasan’s competence and passion as a leader.
“If Secretary Honasan can play a key role in a people power revolution, and lead a group of progressive soldiers dreaming of systemic improvements back then, it is but certain that such kind of leadership, passion, and determination will surely benefit a relatively young department,” she said.
Poe said Honasan is very familiar with the importance with the “DICT’s role in safeguarding national interest and security,” as such matters have always been at the forefront of a number of Senate hearings while he was still a senator.
“Let the government, DICT in particular, continue to benefit from the character, competence and hard work of a renowned statesman like Secretary Honasan,” Poe said.
Senator Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. also said President Duterte made the best choice in appointing Honasan to the post.
“He is a true officer and a gentleman. His dedication, commitment, and competence in serving our country and our people will be one of the biggest assets of the Executive. Hindi po matatawaran ang kaniyang kakayahan (His competence cannot be questioned),” Revilla said.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III, who chairs the CA, also got a few words for Honasan.
“Just for the record, I am both honored and it is my pleasure to preside over the confirmation of a very dear friend,” he said before asking for any objections on the motion to confirm Honasan.
“I hear no objection, therefore the motion is hereby approved. The nominee is confirmed,” Sotto said. (PNA)