THE Canadian government has expressed its willingness to work with the Philippines in addressing cybersecurity threats and resultant crimes, according to its envoy.
“Now, more than ever, with growing threats from the proliferation of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing, like-minded countries must work together to build a resilient and adaptable ‘cyber work force’ for the future—indeed, one trained and ready for whatever the future may hold,” Ambassador David Hartman said during the recently concluded Cybersecurity Conference organized by the Stratbase ADR Institute, in partnership with the Canadian Embassy.
“It is in this light, my friends, that Canada is prepared to work hand-in-hand with the Philippines to build this capacity together,” Hartman added.
Head of the Canadian Centre Sami Khoury also noted the need for international partnership in addressing cybersecurity threats: “We look forward to being international partners on the cybersecurity front. Cyber [attacks know no boundaries…actors don’t stop at Canada just because, or don’t stop at the Philippines, because they don’t intend to go out of the country].”
Khoury furthered that “[we need to know how to work together, learn from each other, share, and make each other an early-warning system of cyberthreats—you see something here, and you might be ‘patient zero.’ How do we learn from that patient zero so we can stop threats elsewhere? It’s all about building that ‘international cyberteam’ and protecting our society.”
During the conference, Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman underscored the importance of cooperation among like-minded nations, especially in the areas of digitalization and economic development.
“In today’s fast-paced, modern, and interconnected world, it is inevitable that we fortify cyber cooperation toward digital security—as the title of this event suggests,” Pangandaman stated. “I believe today’s conference is a strong testament to our commitment to doing such, especially seeing astounding participation from different sectors of society—including members from the international community.”
The Department of Budget and Management chief added that cybersecurity remains a paramount concern for the agency, as they transition to digitalization: “Our [Information and Communications Technology] Group has strategically allocated 20.92 percent of the department’s ICT budget to cybersecurity projects, which is notably even higher than 10 percent of the internationally recommended standard based on the report published by the Deloitte Center for Financial Services and the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center—the only global information-sharing community focused solely on financial services.”
Furthermore, top government officials, experts and the embassy’s personnel emphasized the need for cooperation within Philippine society, and among like-minded states to combat cybersecurity threats in the country.
For his part, Stratbase ADR Institute’s chief operating officer Rupert Paul Manhit said securing Philippine cyberspace needs a whole-of-society approach to promote a basic understanding of potential risks and threats, as he highlighted opportunities for growth.
“We are only as strong as our weakest link. [Let us work together to train our people, legislate and implement sound regulatory frameworks, invest in technology, work with like-minded partners, and commit to a stronger cyber landscape in the Philippines,” Manhit insisted.
The Stratbase executive added that having a cybercrime-resilient society is important to encourage more investments in the country.
“A thriving digital economy backed by safe…cybersecurity strategies gives the Philippines a strategic and competitive advantage to attract—and keep—investors,” he explained. “Cybersecurity issues have the potential to influence [businesses operations] across different sectors and the country’s national economic growth.”
Stratbase’s two-day conference gathered relevant stakeholders in cybersecurity—including top government officials, key private sector leaders, and experts from the academe and civil society organizations who shared their knowledge and explored innovative solutions to counter cyber risks and ensure digital security.
Image credits: Government of Canada