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House committee approves bill seeking to establish ICT hubs

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The House Committee on Information and Communications Technology has approved the substitute bill seeking to establish ICT hubs nationwide, as proposed by Negros Occidental 3rd District Rep. Jose Francisco Benitez.

The proposed measure mandates the Department of Information and Communications Technology to prepare a National ICT Plan, which will assess the needs of every province and identify the number of hubs to be developed.

Benitez, who chaired the Technical Working Group that prepared the substitute bill, consolidating 10 bills, said it will enable digital transformation in the countryside, he said.

In a statement, the solon added that the bill will provide facilities for digital learning, cybersecurity systems, and co-working space for digital and creative startups.

Under the bill, every province shall have at least one ICT hub based on the type of activity it hosts – from data farms to IT and business processing management, cyberskills learning hub and digital transformation center, and digital innovation hub, among others.

“ICT hubs shall be developed in geographically equitable locations throughout the province,” the bill stated.

“Any registered business enterprise in the ICT hub may be granted incentives, according to the performance-based, targeted, time-bound and transparent incentives program under… the CREATE law,” it added.

“All ICT hubs established under this Act are hereby declared free zones within which any PTE may operate,” the bill noted.

The measure further proposes that a digital network infrastructure be established to connect the local ICT hubs to the National Broadband Program though a core backbone network of the DICT, to be funded from the spectrum users’ fees.*

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