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Duterte formally appoints Honasan as DICT chief

President Rodrigo Duterte has formally appointed Senator Gregorio Honasan II as the next secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), a document released by Malacañang on Thursday showed.  

Duterte signed Honasan's appointment paper on November 20. Honasan must resign from his Senate post before he could assume the DICT portfolio.

Honasan's appointment came a day after the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) officially declared Mislatel Consortium as the country's new major player in the telecom industry, 12 days after the bid documents were opened.

Mislatel Consortium is composed of Davao businessman Dennis Uy's Udenna Corporation and Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp., franchise holder Mindanao Islamatic Telephone Co., and foreign partner China Telecommunications Corp.

Uy was one of Duterte's biggest backers during his 2016 presidential campaign.

As the third major player in the industry, Mislatel is expected to compete head-to-head with incumbent players PLDT-Smart and Globe Telecom.

Malacañang earlier expressed confidence that Honasan would "provide good direction and sound management to the DICT, consistent with the President’s priority programs beneficial to Filipino consumers in the areas of information, communications and technology."

The President revealed on November 8 that he offered Honasan the DICT post, asking him to join in the "quest for better Philippines and a better government." Honasan accepted the post a day later.

The DICT is currently headed by Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio who had asked for more time from the President to finish the third telco initiative before Honasan takes over the department. —KBK, GMA News