President Rodrigo Duterte has accepted the resignation of Undersecretary Eliseo Rio Jr. of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Malacañang confirmed on Friday.
Duterte’s acceptance came over three months since Rio tendered his resignation.
“We likewise affirm that the President has accepted the resignation of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Undersecretary Eliseo Rio, Jr.,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement.
The Palace confirms that OCD Assistant Secretary Kristoffer James Purisima has been relieved from his post effective immediately due to loss of trust and confidence.
We likewise affirm that the President has accepted the resignation of DICT Undersecretary Eliseo Rio, Jr. pic.twitter.com/ejS8VkuZZt
— Harry Roque (@attyharryroque) May 22, 2020
Roque said the Palace was thankful to Rio for his “invaluable services to the nation.”
“We wish him (Rio) well in all his future endeavors,” he said.
Rio on January 31 sent a letter to Duterte, informing the President of his decision to quit his post.
Earlier reports said he resigned due to a supposed conflict with other DICT officials.
Rio also questioned the grant and questionable allocation of multimillion-peso confidential funds of the agency.
The DICT had PHP400 million in confidential funds in 2019 and PHP800 million in 2020.
In February, Malacañang said Duterte would first let the Senate look into the controversial confidential funds appropriated to the DICT before ordering a possible presidential probe.
In the same month, Rio issued a joint statement with DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan II, clarifying that the former’s resignation was “because of personal reasons, and not due to any rift with the Secretary, nor to any anomaly in the confidential fund.”
Rio, an engineer who served as Undersecretary for Operations in the agency, served as acting secretary of the DICT and led the bidding process for the third slot as a mobile communications provider in 2018—one of the campaign promises of Duterte.
In his resignation letter, Rio highlighted some of his achievements during his term, including the extension of the validity of prepaid load to one year, and the “lowering of interconnection charges to make text messages and call cheaper.”
Moreover, he also mentioned the following initiatives as contributors to “a significant spike in investments in the information and communications technology sector”:
- The free use of the 6,200 km dark fiver for the Transco/National Grid Corporation of the Philippines as backbone for the country’s National Broadband Program;
- The execution and establishment of two (2) cable landing stations that would provide the government with two (2) terabit per second (tbps) of international bandwidth that is worth P 4.6 billion annually;
- Initiation of the Accelerated Common Tower Build-up which would put up at least 50,000 towers in the Philippines to cope with the growing demand for better telecommunication services and Passive Telecommunication Infrastructure Provider.
(—Source: Philippine News Agency)