Without secret funds, DICT can’t strengthen PH’s cybersecurity — CICC
MANILA, Philippines — A confidential allocation is necessary for the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to secure the country’s defense against continuing cyber threats, said an official of the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC).
CICC Deputy Executive Director Mary Rose Magsaysay made this remark Tuesday during the Senate committee on science and technology’s hearing on the cyberattack incident against the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation’s website.
“Kapag ‘di natin binigyan ng confidential funds [ang DICT], ibig sabihin noon ay pinipigilan natin ang [bansa sa] pagkakaroon ng secure connectivity, kasi ang proactive stance, ang pagbabantay ng security, [at] cybersecurity ay nasa kanilang shoulders po,” said Magsaysay.
(If we don’t give DICT confidential funds, it means we’re preventing the country from having secure connectivity, because the proactive stance, the guarding of security, and cybersecurity is on their shoulders.)
Magsaysay said securing the county’s connectivity is difficult, adding that removing DICT’s confidential allocation is like “killing people’s hopes to have equal standing with all countries.”
DICT’s P300 million confidential allocation was cut by a House of Representatives small committee in early October.
Several lawmakers, however, have signified their intent to fight for DICT’s confidential allocation during the plenary deliberations of the 2024 budget.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said he would support the retention of DICT’s secret budget.
“I will suggest to the leadership for the DICT’s confidential fund to be restored. From our briefing, [the DICT] said these would be used to [acquire] equipment,” said Gatchalian in a mix of English and Filipino.