Press Release
October 25, 2023

Cayetano bids for more cyber security experts to join government

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday urged the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to hire more cybersecurity experts amid the growing threat of hacking and data breaches in the country.

This after the DICT and a number of government websites such as that of PhilHealth, the House of Representatives, and the Philippine Statistics Authority were defaced back to back by hackers within the month of October.

"Are there enough cyber security experts in the DICT and in government? Baka kasi may fund na ibinibigay for counter attacks, but there are not enough experts in government." Cayetano posed this question to resource persons during Wednesday's hearing (October 25, 2023) on cybersecurity and e-governance under the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, which he chairs.

Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center Deputy Executive Director Mary Rose Magsaysay told Cayetano that they currently have 55 experts among their personnel, mostly cyber technologists, who are the best of the best people they know. She however admits that this is not enough manpower.

"In general, kulang pa rin hindi ba? At kahit may mga ICT expert, it's another issue of getting them into government dahil maraming nagpupunta abroad at sa private sector," Cayetano said.

DICT Spokesperson Renato Paraiso responded that such is the case because of a big disparity in pay between government employees and of private sectors.

Cayetano acknowledged that this is a very legitimate concern since there are people who will be pirated for better pay.

"We can't blame them for wanting to provide for their family. It's not for everyone, but there are really hot career choices na kung hindi tayo makipag agawan sa gobyerno ay mapupunta sila sa private sector o abroad," he said.

In asking the Philippine National Police about their cybersecurity personnel, Cayetano also discovered that their program budget is far from ideal since their 2024 budget for the Information System Strategic Plan (ISSP) for 2023 to 2025 is at least P100,000 per region only.

"It's a good start... pero mas kumplikado rin pala [ang hiring] sa PNP. Ang sweldo kasi nila ay parallel to the rank. Kung may cyber expert sila pero major, hindi naman pwedeng mas mataas ang sweldo niya sa general. That would be a complication for both. Let's have a separate discussion on this," the senator said.

Cayetano however emphasized the government's urgency to look into this investment for PNP and military since "future wars will be fought in cyberspace."

Wrapping up the discussion, the senator offered the DICT and government agencies to submit their plans, which include hiring more cyber experts in government to address these concerns, before the Senate 2024 budget deliberations in November.

"We can include in our committee report these other resources that you need," he offered.


Cayetano, gusto mas maraming cyber security experts na sumali sa gobyerno

Hinimok ni Senador Kuya Alan Peter Cayetano nitong Miyerkules ang Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) na kumuha ng mas maraming cybersecurity experts sa gitna ng lumalalang banta ng hacking at data breaches sa bansa.

Ito ay matapos ang DICT at ilang website ng gobyerno gaya ng PhilHealth, House of Representatives, at Philippine Statistics Authority ay magkasunod na tinira ng hackers sa loob ng buwan ng Oktubre.

"Are there enough cyber security experts in the DICT and in government? Baka kasi may fund na ibinibigay for counter attacks, but there are not enough experts in government," Tanong ni Cayetano sa mga resource person sa pagdinig noong Miyerkules (Oktubre 25, 2023) sa cybersecurity at e-governance sa ilalim ng Senate Committee on Science and Technology, na kanyang pinamumunuan.

Sinabi ni Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center Deputy Executive Director Mary Rose Magsaysay kay Cayetano na sa kasalukuyan ay mayroon silang 55 eksperto sa kanilang mga tauhan. Aniya, karamihan sa kanila ay mga cyber technologist at pinakamahusay na taong kilala nila. Gayunpaman, inamin niya na ang bilang na ito ay hindi sapat.

"In general, kulang pa rin hindi ba? At kahit may mga ICT expert, it's another issue of getting them into government dahil maraming nagpupunta abroad at sa private sector," sabi ni Cayetano.

Sumagot naman si DICT Spokesperson Renato Paraiso na ito ang realidad dahil sa malaking pagkakaiba sa suweldo sa pagitan ng mga empleyado ng gobyerno at ng mga pribadong sektor.

Inamin ni Cayetano na ito ay isang lehitimong isyu dahil may mga taong pipiratahin para sa mas magandang suweldo.

"We can't blame them for wanting to provide for their family. It's not for everyone, but there are really hot career choices na kung hindi tayo makipag agawan sa gobyerno ay mapupunta sila sa private sector o abroad," wika niya.

Sa pagtatanong sa Philippine National Police tungkol sa kanilang cybersecurity personnel, natuklasan din ni Cayetano na malayo sa ideal ang kanilang budget sa programa dahil ang kanilang 2024 budget para sa Information System Strategic Plan (ISSP) para sa 2023-2025 ay hindi bababa sa P100,000 kada rehiyon lamang.

"It's a good start... pero mas kumplikado rin pala [ang hiring] sa PNP. Ang sweldo kasi nila ay parallel to the rank. Kung may cyber expert sila pero major, hindi naman pwedeng mas mataas ang sweldo niya sa general. That would be a complication for both. Let's have a separate discussion on this," sabi ng senador.

Gayunpaman, binigyang-diin ni Cayetano ang pangangailangan ng gobyerno na pondohan ito para sa PNP at militar dahil ang "future wars will be fought in cyberspace."

Sa pagtatapos ng talakayan, inalok ng senador ang DICT at mga ahensya ng gobyerno na magsumite ng kanilang mga plano, na kinabibilangan ng pagkuha ng mas maraming cyber expert sa gobyerno upang tugunan ang mga alalahaning ito, bago ang Senate 2024 budget deliberations sa Nobyembre.

"We can include in our committee report these other resources that you need," alok niya.

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