Data Protection Summit to tackle security concerns

The National Privacy Commission (NPC) has announced plans for the first Data Protection Officers Summit to take up the looming concerns about data security.

In a press briefing in Malacañang on Tuesday, March 28, NPC Commissioner Raymund Enriquez Liboro assured that reforms have already been undertaken to secure official data on individuals following the data breaches at the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

“Nais ko lamang sabihin na isang taon matapos po ang ‘Comeleak’ tayo po, sa tulong po ng mga sangay ng pamahalaan, lalung-lalo na po ang Office of the President through Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea ay maglulunsad po ng kauna-unahang Data Protection Officers Summit,” Liboro said.

The Summit, Liboro said, will explore avenues and new approaches for the government to further beef up its defense against violation of data privacy rights, data breaches, and on how to further secure important information of the general public. It will be participated in by data protection officers in executive agencies.

“Ito po’y kabibilangan ng lahat ng mga data protection officers ng ehekutibo at tayo po ay magsasama-sama sa kauna-unahang pagkakataon,” the NPC head said.

Liboro explained that in implementing the Data Privacy Act of 2012, the agency has come up with five guidelines for government agencies concerned.

“Naglabas po kami ng tinatawag naming limang utos ‘no. Ang una nga po diyan ay mag-appoint ng accountable officer within your organization, we call them the data protection officer (DPO),” Liboro said.

“So ang unang utos po namin ay magkaroon ng mga accountable officer na mananagot doon po sa loob ng mga opisina at magiging champion ng privacy rights of their customers or stakeholders,” he said.

Agencies were likewise directed to conduct a privacy impact assessment to check vulnerabilities within their organizations.

The agencies were also told to come up with a privacy manual to put on paper how the general public can be assured that their private information are protected.

Agencies were also directed to strictly enforce security measures against data breaches.

In the same briefing, meanwhile, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella announced that 4.3 million 4Ps beneficiaries will start receiving P600 in rice subsidy from the Department of Welfare and Social Development (DSWD) this month.

“The additional rice subsidy allocated for the month of March has already totaled to P2.5 billion,” Abella explained.

The Palace official also announced that as part of the administration’s commitment to alleviate poverty, indigent patients can now avail of free medicines.

“The DSWD has already distributed free medicines amounting to P8.2M to 984 indigent Filipinos from Regions 3, 6, 7, 11 and the NCR region,” Abella said.

The Presidential spokesperson meanwhile lauded the results of a Social Weather Stations (SWS) Survey showing an overwhelming portion of a happy Filipino populace.

“SWS survey on happiness level is at 91 percent. It’s a group of happy Filipinos,” he said. “Nine out of 10 Filipinos considered themselves happy with their life, according to a December 2016 Social Weather Stations (SWS) Survey. This is the highest score in 20 years.”

“Around this time, the economy of the Philippines is on the upswing at 6.6 percent during the last quarter. People likewise feel safer and more secure with more than eight out of 10 Filipinos attributing this to the President’s anti-drug war,” Abella said.

He also said that among the topics taken up during the meeting between President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua include the handling of the South China Sea issue; defense cooperation; capacity building; infrastructure projects, and anti-poverty and anti-illegal drugs campaign. Abella also said that the Chinese envoy conveyed that China looks forward to the first meeting of the bilateral mechanism set up to properly handle the SCS issue this May.

“They intend to build a bilateral mechanism, mutual trust and maritime cooperation. His Excellency also expressed China’s determination to work with ASEAN members in finalizing the Code of Conduct framework on the South China Sea, sometime in the middle of this year,” he added.###PND