Speaker Romualdez calls for urgent DICT briefing on serious cybersecurity breaches vs gov’t websites

SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Monday called for an immediate briefing from the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) on the recent cyberattacks on several Philippine government websites purportedly from Chinese hackers, saying this was an issue on national security.

DICT Undersecretary for connectivity, cybersecurity and upskilling Jeffrey Ian Dy reported that cybersecurity experts prevented the hacking of government websites and email addresses by China-based cybercriminals, and that one of these attacks was an attempt to take down the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) website.

“I express deep concern regarding the recent cybersecurity breaches in government agencies, as reported by the DICT. The revelation that hackers, suspected to be operating from China, have infiltrated the email systems and internal websites of various government agencies, is a matter of national security and public interest,” Speaker Romualdez, the leader of the 300-plus-strong House of Representatives, said.

“The fact that these breaches have targeted critical domains such as cabsec.gov.ph, coastguard.gov.ph, cpbrd.congress.gov.ph, dict.gov.ph, doj.gov.ph, and ncws.gov.ph, in addition to the private domain of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, signifies a dire need for an immediate and comprehensive response,” the Speaker added.

Romualdez said that the Philippines should not allow these cyberattacks on government websites to go unchecked.

“Ang pag-atake sa ating mga sistema sa internet ay hindi lamang banta sa ating pamahalaan kundi pagnanakaw na rin sa ating sariling tahanan. Hindi natin ito dapat palampasin at kailangan nating labanan,” the lawmaker from Leyte said.

“In light of these alarming developments, I am calling on the DICT and other concerned agencies to conduct a thorough briefing for the House of Representatives. This briefing should focus on the nature and extent of these cyber-attacks, the current measures in place to prevent future incidents, and strategies for enhancing our cybersecurity infrastructure,” Speaker Romualdez declared.

He said the briefing could be done in the House of Representatives as soon as possible, most probably this week, and will be conducted by the House Committee on Public Information and the House Committee on Information and Communications Technology chaired by Reps. Joboy Aquino and Toby Tiangco, respectively.

“I propose that this briefing be conducted in an open hearing … Transparency in this matter is crucial as it affects not just the integrity of our government’s digital infrastructure but also the safety and privacy of our citizens,” Speaker Romualdez said.

“Furthermore, this incident reminds us of the urgent need to strengthen our cybersecurity policies and protocols. We must ensure that our national cybersecurity strategies are robust enough to withstand such attacks and agile enough to adapt to the evolving digital landscape,” he added.

“The House of Representatives stands ready to support any legislative action necessary to enhance our cybersecurity and protect our nation from such digital threats. We take this matter with utmost seriousness and urgency.”

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