Olongapo Telecom & Information Technology

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Old issues surface after resignation of CICT chief

MANILA, Philippines -- Familiar issues such as the lack of progress in the creation of a more powerful IT body in government have been raised following the departure of Ramon Sales as chief of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT).

Sales has reportedly filed an indefinite leave of absence leading to his resignation. This was confirmed by CICT commissioner Tim Diaz de Rivera, who is taking over as interim commission chief.

Sales, who is said to have cited medical reasons for his departure from CICT, could not be reached for comment as of this writing.

Industry sources asked for comment on this matter point to possible reasons for Sales' departure from public service.

Reached for comment about Sales' resignation, Cynthia Mamon, president of Sun Microsystems Philippines, said she had heard about Sales' frustrations with developments at CICT in a previous industry forum.

She said Sales' frustration could have stemmed from the demotion of CICT as a "head without legs," referring to the recent transfer of Telecommunications Office back to the Department of Transportation and Communications.

"As CICT chairman, who wouldn't be frustrated if you don't get committed support from the government that appointed you?" said Mamon.

Mamon also heads the Information Technology Association of the Philippines (ITAP), among other industry associations, which represents local offices of major technology companies.

She added that the lack of government supports extends to the proposed Department of ICT, the creation of which is contained in a bill still languishing in Congress for many years now.

"That the government and Senate are not helping him push the DICT is frustrating us all in the industry. If the government says ICT is a competitive strategy why are they not pushing for the proposal?" Mamon said.

Outgoing Cebu congressman Simeon Kintanar, who heads the Lower House committee on ICT, meanwhile, expressed disappointment over Sales' resignation.

"I feel very disappointed about it," said Kintanar, asked for comment via telephone. "I have been working with him on a number of projects for more than a year now. In fact, I was set to meet with him this week."

The Cebu lawmaker was referring to the "e-legislation" in Congress, a computerization project scheduled for implementation, and another project called "e-education" to be deployed with the Department of Education.

Kintanar proposed a bill outlining the creation of a Department of ICT. The bill, however, did not go beyond second reading in Congress.

What is working against the bill is the fact that Kintanar is ending his term in Congress this month. The bill also does not enjoy the same level of support in the Senate.

However, Kintanar said the DICT bill has enjoyed the support of the private sector at the Lower House level.

"Better advocacy needs to be done at the Senate," he said.
By Lawrence Casiraya - INQUIRER.net

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Second Life says its virtual world is adults-only

Agence France-Presse

SAN FRANCISCO -- Linden Lab said Monday that its popular virtual world Second Life -- where activities include sex and gambling -- is strictly adults-only.

The statement by the creator of an Internet world where people live vicariously via customized three-dimensional animated figures came after L'association Familles de France accused it of letting children cavort in a virtual land rife with grown-up vices.

A Linden spokesman said the San Francisco company had not been contacted by the association so could not comment specifically about the complaint.

"However, Second Life is a platform strictly for adults [ages 18 and older], and Linden Lab enforces strict measures to prevent access by minors," the company said in a response to an Agence France-Presse inquiry.