Duterte executive order reorganizes national cybersecurity committee

Sofia Tomacruz

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Duterte executive order reorganizes national cybersecurity committee
With Executive Order 95, the Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary replaces the Department of Science and Technology Secretary as a co-chair of the committee

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte signed a new executive order reorganizing the National Cybersecurity Inter-Agency Committee (NCIAC), which seeks to better prepare and prevent the country against cyberattacks.

Executive Order (EO) 95 signed by Duterte on Friday, November 15 and released to the media on Wednesday, November 20, makes the NCIAC chaired by the Executive Secretary, and co-chaired by the National Security Council (NSC) director-general and Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) secretary.

The NCIAC was previously established during the Aquino administration in 2015 as the “Cybersecurity Inter-Agency Committee” and was led by the Executive Secretary, NSC director-general, and Department of Science and Technology Secretary.

What does the NCIAC do? The committee assess cybersecurity risks and vulnerabilities in the Philippines and is supposed to issue security protocols for all government employees pertaining to handling, storing, and distributing documents and communication.

The NCIAC also taps into public-private partnerships to prevent cyberattacks, improve the country’s cybersecurity, and minimize cyber risks.

These measures are critical for the Philippines, which has seen several government websites hacked or defaced in the past. These include the defacement of Office of the Ombudsman’s website in 2013, along with the National Telecommunications Commission’s and several local government units’ in 2015.

Most notorious were the hacking and data breach of the Commission on Elections’ website in 2016, just months before elections.

Other NCIAC members: Apart from the executive secretary, NSC, and DICT, the NCIAC also counts officials from the following agencies as members:

  • DOST Secretary
  • Department of Energy Secretary
  • Department of Finance Secretary
  • Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary
  • Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary
  • Department of Justice Secretary
  • Department of National Defense Secretary
  • Department of Transportation Secretary
  • Presidentail Communications Operations Office Secretary
  • National Telecommunications Commissioner
  • National Privacy Commission Chairman
  • Anti-Terrorism Council-Program Management Center Executive Director
  • Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Committee Executive Director
  • Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor

Part of the EO allows the NCIAC to invite public and private entities to “participate, complement, and assist” in performing its functions.

Among sections of Aquino’s EO repealed by Duterte’s latest order, includes provisions tasking the various bureaus and offices of the government with having Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs).

These CERTs, under the guidance of the National Computer Emergency Response Team (NCERT), were created to oversee and audit various government offices for compliance with NCERT guidelines. – Rappler.com

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Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers defense and foreign affairs. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz.