February 29, 2024

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The Philippines Prioritising Cybersecurity

In a meeting with the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC), President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. pledged support for pivotal legislative measures recommended by the PSAC Digital Infrastructure Group. These measures, aligned with the Philippine Digital Transformation Framework, aim to fortify cybersecurity efforts within the nation.

Expressing his commitment during a Palace gathering, the President affirmed his intention to prioritise and expedite the passage of three bills pending in the Senate. These bills, including the Cybersecurity Act, Anti-Mule Act, and the Online Site Blocking Act, are integral components of the nation’s strategy to bolster cybersecurity and safeguard digital assets.

“The structural requirements in legislation are evidently crucial. Let’s focus on the Cybersecurity Act, Anti-Mule Act, and the Online Site Blocking Act. Collaborating with the Legislature’s leadership, we aim to swiftly progress these bills,” explained the President to PSAC officials.

The bills, currently pending at the Senate, encompass vital aspects crucial for the country’s digital security and protection against cyber threats. The Cybersecurity Act, in particular, carries provisions designed to enhance the country’s cybersecurity resilience, fortify critical information infrastructures, and impose penalties for non-compliance with digital asset protection standards.

Recent cyber threats targeting government entities have underscored the urgency of passing the Cybersecurity Act, aligning with the administration’s commitment to securing public digital assets.

Citing statistics from a tech giant, a significant 85% of Philippine companies anticipate potential disruptions to their operations due to cybersecurity attacks within the next 24 months. Additionally, data from the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) underscores the Philippines’ prominence as the fourth most targeted country globally, with approximately 3,000 cyber incidents reported between 2020 and 2022, half of which targeted government institutions.

Moreover, the proposed Anti-Mule Act aims to curb fraudulent activities related to bank accounts, e-wallets, and other financial platforms. The legislation seeks to criminalise activities like using fake identities to open accounts, unauthorised account transfers, and recruiting individuals for fraudulent account purposes. It will also enforce stricter penalties and delineate jurisdiction for law enforcement agencies.

Simultaneously, the Online Site Blocking Act, if passed, will combat online content piracy by instituting measures to block websites hosting pirated content. Advocates highlight the importance of safeguarding the creative industry and consumers from the perils of online piracy, emphasising the potential revenue loss and risks posed by pirate websites.

PSAC stressed the significance of fortifying laws to protect the creative economy, ensuring artists can create content without fear of theft. They underscored the necessity of empowering the Executive branch to implement these laws effectively.

The collective urgency to fortify cybersecurity measures and protect digital assets underscores the critical need for the prompt passage of these bills. President Marcos Jr.’s endorsement signifies a pivotal step toward reinforcing the country’s digital infrastructure and safeguarding its cyber landscape for the future.

Earlier this year the Asian Productivity Organization (APO) convened a pivotal training session focused on enhancing cybersecurity across its member countries. Intending to foster the adoption of robust cybersecurity practices among IT professionals, the event encompassed representatives from diverse nations. Notably, among the forty-four participants, fourteen were delegates from various Philippine National Government Agencies alongside active participation from the private sector.

The four-day intensive training facilitated addressed the pressing need to fortify defences against evolving cyber threats and shed light on the escalating complexity of cyber threats. With the proliferation of artificial intelligence (AI) in augmenting the capabilities of cyber assailants, the landscape has become more treacherous, amplifying the vulnerabilities of existing cybersecurity defence mechanisms.

Established in 1961, the APO stands as an intergovernmental organisation committed to fostering mutual cooperation and sustainable socio-economic development across the region. Serving as a think tank and offering policy advisory services, the APO has consistently spearheaded initiatives spanning diverse sectors. In its unwavering dedication, it plays a crucial role in enhancing the cybersecurity resilience of member countries.

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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