May 24, 2024

The Insider News

Direct from the source

Solons push for improved PH cybersecurity capability

HOUSE members on Tuesday shared their proposals aimed at enhancing the country’s cybersecurity capability, from giving the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) contempt powers, to raising the 2025 budget of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), to including cybercrime as a subject in computer science courses in college.

Surigao del Norte Rep. Francisco Jose “Bingo” Matugas said he filed House Bill 10358, which would effectively strengthen the NBI’s authority to investigate cyberattacks. Under Republic Act 10175, or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, the NBI has the primary jurisdiction to probe cyberattacks.

“Nakita po namin na doon sa pag-uusap with the NBI na may pagkukulang doon sa enforcement,” Matugas explained.

“Under the law, the NBI can get a court order to get the documents or to compel an institution to cooperate with them and normally it will take time… kapag hindi nag comply, they will just file obstruction of justice in the court which again will take time. So, yesterday we filed a bill similar to the bill I filed in the 17th Congress.” Matugas added.

With the proposed contempt powers, he said it will be easier for the NBI to investigate cyber attacks. 

“Mas mabilis po nilang ma-cocompel yung mga institutions, especially telcos or mga IT companies, to cooperate with them,” he said.

Matugas also proposed that the DICT budget next year for its anti-cyber crime efforts be raised. He said the DICT’s entire budget this year was cut by P2 billion. 

“The budget increase would enhance the DICT’s anti-cybercrime efforts with new technologies. The NBI’s budget should also be raised, especially for their Cybercrime Division to allow them to acquire more tools to really enforce the investigation on cyberattacks,” Matugas said. 

He encouraged the country’s educational institutions, particularly those offering technology subjects to enhance their courses and make the cybercrime topic an important subject matter and not only just a subtopic on computer science, but a special subject. 

“Just like in the U.S., there is a specialization on cyber security courses, so that we can encourage a lot of our Filipino tech workers and Filipino tech students to be involved in helping us in protecting our institutions,” Matigas said.

Davao Oriental Rep. Cheeno Miguel Almario explained that there are different kinds of cyberattacks, “Sometimes, some of the attempts are terroristic in nature, some attempts are not. Yung (iba), gusto lang nilang magkapera or they just want to show the people na okay, there is a vulnerability in the system of this particular cyber security infrastructure.”

He said the cyberattacks have too many sources, both domestic and international, but declined to go into further detail about last week’s joint hearing of the Committee on Information and Communications Technology and Committee on Public Information, on the matter of cyberattacks, in the interest of national security.