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The Philippines will be joining the world as it celebrate the World IPv6 day on June 8, 2011.

The Internet Society Philippines (ISOC-PH), Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI), Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) and the IPv6 Forum Philippines will lead the World IPv6 Day in the Philippines.

The Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) is leading the adoption of IPv6 in  the Philippines.

In line with the fundamental goal of universal access and digital inclusion of the Medium Term Philippine
Development Plan, the Commission on Information and Communication Technology (CICT) already issued the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Executive Order (E.O.) 893 on Promoting the Deployment and Use of Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6). The IRR states that all online services of government agencies should be IPv6 compliant and interoperable with legacy IPv4 within two years.

An IP is used to transfer data from one host to another through the Internet. Without an IP address, a unique numbers series used to identify certain devices such as computer, smartphone, and backend Web server, devices would not be able to connect to the Internet.

Why do we need IPv6?

The 400% growth rate in Internet usage over the past 10 years has resulted in a scarcity of IP addresses. Asia, which has the most internet users in the world, will be among the hardest hit with this imminent address exhaustion. The Philippines will not be spared, as it will affect expansion and development of Internet access in the country.

We are in the period of expansion in terms of providing and supporting access to ICTs. Last month, I discussed our initiatives and vision about the Philippine Community eCenter (Phil CeC) program. We are continuing to strengthen the online presence and access of Filipinos to different government services and ICTs. This is just one of the various initiatives led by CICT that would require the migration and utilization of the new IPv6 system. We are approaching IPv4 system’s saturation point, when it can no longer accommodate new computers and IP addresses.

IPv6 offers a completely new cyberspace to house new computers and ICTs. We are at the height of connectivity and online presence as various communicating devices also capitalize on internet connectivity. Smartphones, androids, and tablets has been increasing in terms of sales and marketing since last year, not to mention the dramatic increase in internet usage with the boom of popular websites, search engines, and social media. These factors triggered the shortage in IPv4 addresses, reaching more than four billion addresses.

Keeping up with the world: IRR of EO 893

Around 340 undecillion (340 trillion, trillion, trillion) IPv6 addresses are now available, making it the new standard for Internet addresses. As exciting as it may sound, IPv6 migration entails a lot of work. There may not be many challenges in the private sector, as companies readily reconfigure their hardware and equipment to support the new IP system. Our online government facilities, however, are still in their development stages. We are in the process of integrating e-Governance and online platforms in government systems. We, at CICT, are aware that the commission must fully consider and facilitate the ongoing migration to IPv6.

IRR of EO 893 Promoting the deployment and use of IPv6 was finally issued last January aiming to fully operationalize IPv6 in all government offices and ICTs within the next two years. The Executive Order enumerated provisions on IPv6 use and deployment, including: a.) all government online services shall be IPv6-compliant two years after E.O. No. 893 takes effect; b.) government procurement of IPv4-only equipment, software and services shall be forbidden two years after the effectivity of E.O. No. 893; and c.) all government agencies shall have an IPv6 migration plan in their Information System Strategic Plans.

The IRR reads, “CICT is mandated to ensure the provision of strategic, reliable, and cost-efficient ICT infrastructure, systems and resources as instruments for nation-building and global competitiveness.”

To ensure the deployment and operation of IPv6 within the timeframe, EO 893 created the Inter- Agency Task Force (IATF) that will monitor the implementation of the Executive Order. As stated, IATF will be led by CICT, with senior officials from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of National Defense (DND), Department of Budget (DBM), National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), and private sector representatives as members. The Executive Order also created an Inter-Agency Technical Working Group (IATWG) from the private sector to assist the IATF in its functions and responsibilities.

I would like to acknowledge DOST- Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) for initiating the use of IPv6 in the country with the help of the Philippine Research, Education, and Government Information Network (PREGINET). Our country needs each sector’s contribution in making this initiative a success. The IRR is just one of the numerous initiatives to promulgate policy directives aiming to promote foreign and local investments in Internet-based infrastructure, applications, and services. We should continually enable and support improvements in various sectors and enhance government operations and services.

Download the E.O. 893 and The Implementing Rules and Regulation here.

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