Marcos says PH continues to boost defenses vs cyberattacks
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Monday said the government continues to shore up its defenses against cyberattacks, particularly on the country’s energy infrastructure.
Marcos issued the statement as he witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA).
He said the MOU is an “important event” in the government’s efforts against possible cyberattacks, pointing out that the NGCP is a “critical part” of the country’s security and ability to function.
“We do our business through cyberspace and that is why we are continuing to shore up our defenses when it comes to cybersecurity,” Marcos said in his speech.
“This is an important day because we have made more robust the defenses against any possible attacks on our power systems, on any other of the elements in our everyday lives that require power and, for that matter, that require the exchange and of secure information amongst ourselves in society,” he added.
The President also noted that the MOU signing was a way to address fears of a potential security threat due to a foreign entity’s involvement in the country’s power transmission system.
He made the statement as the NGCP’s consortium had the State Grid Corporation of China as its technical partner.
Marcos said the MOU between NGCP and NICA will also enable the country to handle key data “in a secure fashion without the risk of it being used somehow against the Philippines.”
“This will make much clearer the requirement of our intelligence services to ensure that we are safe and that we are secure. Let this be an example to all the other sectors that could be assessed to be at risk when it comes to cybersecurity,” he said.
“It is a good signal to all of us who have concerns in this regard that we are doing many things to make sure that the Philippines remains secure and its people can rest assured that their territory, their data, their personal information will not be used against us,” Marcos added.
Under the MOU, NICA is tasked with integrating collected intelligence information from various government instrumentalities, analyzing, assessing the data, and recommending actions in safeguarding NGCP’s transmission assets.
Conversely, the NGCP can share vital information on energy-related security issues and provide technical advice to the NICA.
According to the Palace, NICA, through the MOU, commits to supply the NGCP with intelligence information to support the protection of power transmission assets that the NGCP operates and maintains across the country while it commits to provide technical assistance to NICA to support and strengthen its cyber security capability.
The NGCP is a privately owned corporation operating, maintaining, and developing the country’s state-owned power grid, an interconnected system that transmits gigawatts of power in thousands of volts from generators to consumers.
On the other hand, NICA is the government’s primary intelligence gathering and analysis arm, carrying out overt, covert, and clandestine intelligence activities.
NICA directs, coordinates, and integrates all government activities involving national intelligence and serves as the focal point for the preparation of intelligence data of local and foreign situations which serve as inputs and guides to the day-to-day decision and policy-making functions of the President as other entities.