Asia Foundation Launches Comprehensive Report on Cybersecurity in the Philippines

March 22, 2022 — The Asia Foundation and Secure Connections, a coalition advocating for improved cybersecurity, virtually launched the first-ever comprehensive review of cybersecurity governance in the Philippines. Cybersecurity in the Philippines: Global Context and Local Challenges traces the shifting nature of internet governance in the country, the cybersecurity posture of other countries, and how this can inform the Philippines’ cybersecurity positioning and measures. 

At the launch, two of the authors, Information and Communications Technology Policy Analyst Grace Mirandilla-Santos and Network Security Expert William Yu, pointed out that rapid digitalization increases cybersecurity risks. Globally, nations are becoming aware that the disruption of the information and communications technology (ICT) system is becoming a weapon of cyberwarfare.  

Putting cybersecurity measures in place, especially for critical infrastructures—physical or virtual assets vital to the nation’s security, health, and economic well-being—is a priority. The essential infrastructures are government services, transportation, energy, water, health, banking and finance, and telecommunications. The research team also cautioned against the misconception that the Philippines is not a target of malicious cyber actors. 

In his keynote speech, Acting Secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology Emmanuel Rey Caintic, highlighted how the institution is at the forefront of developing cyber resilience and awareness initiatives guided by the National Cybersecurity Plan. An engaging discussion followed, with reactions from Dr. Sherwin Ona of De La Salle University and Director Carlos Reyes of the DICT Cyber Bureau. Concerns on cyber threats’ economic, social, and personal impact were shared with the audience.  

“By learning more about possible threats, we gain better footing on how to protect ourselves. The internet is referred to as the “web” for a reason. We are all linked together, and the compromise of one part could spell catastrophe for others. We must work to secure ourselves, not only for our sake but also for the sake of those around us,” said Angelo Niño Gutierrez, ICT policy researcher.  

Sam Chittick, The Asia Foundation country representative in the Philippines, encouraged stakeholders to deepen the crucial conversation on strengthening the nation’s cybersecurity institutions. “We hope this report will be a catalyst for conversation among those who care about cybersecurity in the Philippines. We hope it inspires more creative and constructive solutions to make digital platforms more cyber secure and promote cyber awareness for those who need it most.”  

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