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Advocacy February 17, 2017

Banking Industry Supports PH Data Privacy Regime

The leaders of the Banking and Finance sector have pledged their support to the country’s data privacy laws by committing to comply with issuances of the country’s data privacy watchdog the National Privacy Commission (NPC).

This was revealed after a meeting between the Banker’s Association of Philippines (BAP) and the NPC, also in the meeting were representatives from the Information Security Officer’s Group (ISOG) and the Association of Bank Compliance Officers of the Philippines (ABCOMP) The primary reason convening the meeting was for the formation of banking and finance sector council that will draft an industry specific data privacy code.

The Philippines has one the most stringent data privacy laws in the region, according to Privacy Commissioner and Chairman Raymund Enriquez Liboro: “The Data Privacy Act of 2012 and subsequent issuances from the NPC are 21st century laws made to address 21st century concerns, they were drawn up to conform with international and cross border data protection principles. Compliance with the law ensure clients of these financial institutions that their banks abide with international standards.” Chairman Liboro said.

Mr. Nestor Tan, President of the BAP said that: “Compliance with data privacy laws will ensure that clients, regardless of nationality are protected from identity and data theft, ensuring that their deposits and related banking activities remain secure. Compliance will also make the Philippine banking industry competitive with foreign banks” Mr. Tan said.

The importance of cybersecurity and data security made the headlines last year because of the Bangladesh Bank heist and the Comelec data breach. Wherein hackers transferred more than 100 million dollars from the account of Bangladesh bank at the Federal reserve bank of New York to bank accounts in Sri-Lanka and the Philippines, while the personal information of more than 50 million Filipino voters were compromised by hackers that defaced Comelec website. Personal information that can be used in identity theft as well as extortion.

Mr. Manuel “ Joey” Regala, President of a non-profit Information Technology (IT) organization mainly comprising of security officers in the banking sector – “Information Security Officers Group (ISOG)” said that: “While we at ISOG are working on strengthening information security among financial institutions thru awareness and education programs, there is equal importance in cybersecurity and data privacy awareness among everyday users. Any individual’s personal data, no matter how trivial as it may seem to that individual, are used by financial institutions to verify your identity and should be protected.” Mr. Regala said.