Press Release
August 6, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara is supporting the establishment of a government office that will deal with IT and IT-related offenses, as well as safeguard the integrity and confidentiality of data in computer systems.

Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, expressed his support in light of reports that President Benigno Aquino III set aside P5 million from the proposed 2012 budget of the Department of Justice (DOJ) for the creation of the Office of Cybercrime.

"This is a welcome move from the government. Cybercrime is evolving as fast as the Internet is developing, however. The real challenge is to create a dynamic agency that employs highly-skilled individuals and experts who truly understand how to best safeguard Internet users," said Angara.

The website of Vice President Jejomar Binay has recently fallen victim to hackers as have other government agencies like the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

A 2010 report to the United Nations Asia and Far East Institute for Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFEI) shows that 667 government websites were defaced between 2003-2008.

According to the Ponemon Institute, cybercrime cost private companies an average of $3.8 million in 2010 to $5.9 million in 2011, or a 64 percent increase.

Angara took note that IT security firm McAfee has uncovered persistent cyber attacks from 2006 to 2010 by a single group against the United Nations, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), International Olympic Committee (IOC), as well as the government agencies of the United States, Taiwan, India, South Korea, Vietnam and Canada.

"The digital age offers so many opportunities but it also makes us vulnerable in a lot of ways. If the Philippines is to be truly competitive in the 21st century, we need to beef up our capacity to secure our cyberspace. We must ensure cooperation and collaboration at both the national and international levels," said Angara.

Angara, Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering, authored and sponsored the Cybercrime Prevention Act. Once enacted into law, the bill will protect 30 million Filipino Internet users from fraud, theft, hacking, child pornography and child prostitution.

The bill also provides for the establishment of the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordination Center, which shall facilitate collaboration at the national and international levels.

Angara is expected to defend the bill on the floor this coming week.

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