Oliver Bugarin 4 0 0 5 min to read

Poe anticipates an effective PH-Singapore alliance against cybercrime.

Senator Grace Poe asked Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Ivan John Uy to inform the Senate regularly of the outcomes of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on cybersecurity, cybercrime, cyber investigation, and cyber threats analysis that the agency and the ICT Ministry of Singapore signed.

This comes after Uy informed the Senate Committee on Public Services, which is chaired by Poe, on Thursday that the DICT and the ICT Ministry of Singapore will collaborate to improve the Philippines’ ability to respond digitally as a result of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Many first-world countries have already addressed these concerns through new methods of investigation and approaches, Uy told Poe’s committee. “This is the area where we actually notice that there is a serious capacity deficiency that many of our agencies are currently suffering from,” he said. “Many of these cyber scams are actually deeper than what it seems to be.”

Poe stated that she believes the DICT knows necessary to develop a strategy for getting rid of text frauds.

She said, “I’m glad to hear that Singapore and the Philippines have agreed to cooperate, but would we be able to share the technology that they have? Are they willing to give us that technology?,” to which Uy replied that it would be discussed during the actual negotiations between the two agencies.

However, according to Uy, experts train our law enforcement officers and cyber investigators on the techniques that are already covered by the MOU.

Poe said she is anticipating the agreement’s results in addition to the DICT’s National Broadband Plan because many senators firmly support it.

We also want to see the cybersecurity component strengthened, she added. “Obviously, the NTC [National Telecommunications Commission] doesn’t have the expertise in that area because they’re more of regulators, but when it comes to the actual technical capabilities, it would be under the expertise of the DICT,” she said.

Singapore is only one of the nations that the DICT is considering partnering with to strengthen the nation’s cybersecurity, according to Uy.

The approach is not local, and we need to work with other cyber law enforcers worldwide because the money trail goes everywhere, and we need to catch them. We are also in talks with several countries that are fairly advanced in tracking down cyber-terrorists and cybercrimes. Many cybercriminals are no longer lone-wolves; they are criminal syndicates very well-funded and international in scope, and some are even state-sponsored.

It truly gives us optimism that shortly, perhaps, we can find something that helps protect our subscribers, Poe said. “I’m delighted to see that you’re taking a proactive posture on this,” Poe said.

Poe’s committee is speaking with several government entities about the measures they are doing in response to multiple SMS scam incidents that have been reported, including Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri being one of the victims.

She cited the urgent need for the Subscriber Identity Module Card Registration Bill to be passed as evidence that the recent instances necessitate the institutionalization of a protective system for mobile phone users nationwide.

Former President Rodrigo Duterte vetoed the bill in the 18th Congress due to a clause requiring the registration of social media accounts and their users. The legislator is hoping to ratify the bill in November of this year.


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