Marcos says cybersecurity upgrades to accompany digitalization push

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. promised a corresponding effort to upgrade cybersecurity alongside his government’s push to digitalize the bureaucracy, the Palace said in a statement.

“Security has become a huge issue… that’s what we are trying to design now, a cybersecurity system for sensitive information,” he was quoted as saying in an open forum at the World Economic Forum by the Presidential Communications Office.

He told an open forum at the Swiss mountain resort of Davos that the government needs to do more to improve internet connectivity.  

“Connectivity in the Philippines is still pretty low. And it’s unfortunate because… consumers (live) every facet of their lives through the internet,” Mr. Marcos said, adding that the government is lagging the people in going online.

The Philippines’ ranking in the Digital Quality of Life Index 2022 dropped seven places to 55th out of 117 countries. It recorded lower scores in internet connection affordability, quality, and stability, as well as cybersecurity.

Local governments have stepped in to establish internet connectivity infrastructure in the regions, according to Mr. Marcos.

“Local governments, and some agencies within the National Government, (have taken) the initiative and started their own systems,” he said. “So, this has now got to be consolidated and put together.”

“And that’s where we are right now: forming the databases for the government, forming the databases that can be used by the national ID.”

Mr. Marcos said the Philippines welcomes any assistance from overseas in improving its digitalization initiatives.

Before the Davos conference, Mr. Marcos issued an order to fast-track the digitalization of the national identification (ID) system.

The order was issued after a meeting with the Private Sector Advisory Council, where one of the agenda items was the Philippine Statistics Authority’s plan to pursue public-private partnership for its Digital PhilID App, which will serve as a digital alternative to the national ID. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza