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  • Writer's pictureRichard Dalaygon

Philippines' 5-year Cybersecurity Plan Hits President's Desk

DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy

At a forum on Governance and Security last week, Philippines Information and Communications Technology Secretary Ivan John Uy spoke at length about the newly-drafted "National Cybersecurity Plan (2023-2028)" which was presented to the Cabinet. It is currently awaiting approval by President President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

He highlighted parts of the strategy aimed at protecting critical infrastructure which is especially vulnerable to cyber attacks.

"It actually identifies the areas where the critical infrastructures that need to be secured and what particular aggrupation of agencies that will be addressing that on the civilian side and on the military side, and then how all of us will work together to coordinate all efforts in defending our country,” Secretary Uy said, "As most of us have seen today, in warfare, the first attack is not done with a bullet or a missile,” he said. “When you launch a cyberattack and you shut down the entire financial system of a country, the damage of the impact is many, many times bigger."

Another forum speaker, Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of Staff Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., commented on their own efforts at beefing up cyber capabilities. He was emphatic about how he views cyber as a factor that could level the playing field between Philippines and first world nations.

“This is one capability where we could excel in the Armed Forces of the Philippines and we could be at par with even the modern countries,” the general said, "Whether you are a big nation or a small nation — you can fight in that cyber domain. There’s no need for large equipment in order to fight in the cyber domain. I believe we have great potential here in the Philippines."

The first iteration of the "National Cybersecurity Plan" was released in 2017. It proposes a comprehensive approach that includes critical infrastructure, government and military systems, supply chains, and even common use of the internet by everyday Filipino users.

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