The National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP) – through the Philippine Center of Excellence in Defense, Development, and Security (PCEDS) – conducted a virtual conference titled “Philippines’ Cyber Defense: Strategies and Capabilities in Combating Cyberattacks” on 23 July 2021. The event raised awareness on the gravity of cyberattacks as a national security threat and sparked discussions about approaches to and capabilities of the country’s cyber defense.
The speakers during the conference were Dir Christine June P Cariño, MNSA, Chief of the Office of Cyber and Information System Management at the Department of National Defense (DND); Mr Allan S Cabanlong, former Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Enabling Technologies at the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT); Col Walter T Icaro PA, MNSA, Commander of the AFP Cyber Group; and LTC Roland J Ong INF (GSC) PA (Res), Territory and Solutions Consultant at FireEye, Inc.
Dir Cariño shared her insights about cyberattacks as a national security issue, noting that the best way to address cyber threats is a whole-of-nation approach. Meanwhile, Col Icaro discussed the roles of the DND and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in cyber defense. He also presented updates on the programs and action plans of the DND-AFP in fending off cyber adversaries. In his lecture, LTC Ong underscored the possible strategies and capabilities in strengthening national cyber defense. He also explained that organizations need to continually increase the maturity of their information security programs and reduce their risk of compromise through an approach incorporating likely real-world threats. Lastly, Mr Cabanlong highlighted the current state of the Philippines’ cyber defense. During his talk, he tackled strategic questions in cyber warfare doctrines and policies, cyber operations, and other related factors that align with the country’s national security agenda and cybersecurity plan.
In his closing remarks, Capt Jorge A Ibarra PN, MNSA, Chief of Staff of the NDCP, stressed that cybersecurity should become the priority of every country, especially as it affects economic and national security. The PCEDS-led event, he said, emphasized the need for collective responsibility.
There were more than 120 participants in the virtual activity. They consisted of NDCP officials and personnel, students of the Master in National Security Administration (MNSA) Program and the National Security Studies Program (NSSP), as well as stakeholders from the DND and AFP.