PH Accepts Singapore Invite to Co-lead ASEAN Data Protection & Privacy Forum

(SDN) — THE Philippines has accepted the invitation of Singapore to jointly lead a planned Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) a forum on data protection and privacy.

To represent the country in the forum is the National Privacy Commission (NPC) headed by Privacy Commissioner Raymund E. Liboro.

Apparently, the objective of the forum is to be a venue to discuss, share ideas and, ultimately, establish a data privacy protection body among the ASEAN’s 10 member-countries.

To date, the Philippines is one of only three Southeast Asian countries with comprehensive data protection law and fully-established functioning data privacy authority regulator.

The other two are Singapore and Malaysia which have already their own data privacy law. Indonesia and Thailand’s own privacy regimes were said to be now in the works.

ASEAN’s members — aside from the five above — are Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

Liboro said in an email to SDN — Science and Digital Newss that the NPC, which is under the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), is closely working with the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) of Singapore in developing the ASEAN Framework on Digital Data Governance.

Privacy commissioners meeting

Philippine Privacy Commissioner Raymund E. Liboro (front, center) is joined by other privacy executives of the ASEAN during their recent meeting in the country. (Photo: NPC)

Liboro accepted the offer to co-lead the ASEAN Data Protection and Privacy Forum (ADPPF) during the recent 2nd Working Group Meeting on ASEAN Digital Data Governance Framework in Makati City.

The NPC chief welcomed the opportunity.

“I would like to express my appreciation to Singapore for extending this invitation. The Philippines, through the National Privacy Commission, agrees to co-lead in this initiative and we are honored to take part to further develop and implement a data privacy forum in the ASEAN region, which will bolster data privacy in the region.

“We look forward to further cooperation with Singapore and all ASEAN member states to foster a community where data protection and privacy thrives,” Liboro said.

The ASEAN Telecommunications and Information Technology Ministers (ATITM) endorsed the creation of the framework in December 2018.

Its objective to strengthen the region’s data ecosystem covering the attainment of legal and regulatory alignment of data regulations and governance frameworks in the region; and fostering da-driven innovation to boost the growth of digital economy.

Under the framework are four initiatives, one which is the ADPPF, the one the Philippines would specifically co-lead The ADPPF has two target outcomes such as harmonizing legal and regulatory landscapes in the region, and the development and adoption of best practices.

Republic Act 10173, otherwise known as the Data Privacy Act of 2012, created the NPC clothed with the mandate to administer and implement the Act’s provisions, as well as the monitoring and ensuring compliance of the Philippines with the international standards set for data protection.

Since its establishment in 2016 with Liboro as the pioneer head, who is also the chairman, the NPC has not shied away from investigating cases/instances of data breaches, among them, what was called “Comeleak” of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) where the personal information of over 55 million voters from the agency’s database were exposed by hackers; Facebook’s own data woes, etc. (SDN)

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