MANILA, Philippines – A consumer group said Monday that government agencies and private companies should adopt security measures aimed at improving their cybersecurity and protecting stakeholders against cyberattacks.

CitizenWatch Philippines co-organizer and former lawmaker Kit Belmonte made the remarks while welcoming President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s approval of the five-year National Cybersecurity Plan, which outlines how to strengthen the country's defense against cyberattacks.

“The landscape of cybercrime and nation-state attacks is constantly evolving with creatively deceptive tactics posing an ever-increasing threat. This requires nothing less than a vigilant and strategic approach to strengthening our cybersecurity defenses,” said Belmonte.

With the approval of the cybersecurity plan, Belmonte urged government agencies to implement robust security measures to safeguard both the agency and its stakeholders.

He also said that the government should collaborate with private technology companies to integrate technologies that strengthen the country's cybersecurity.

“The government must deepen its collaboration with private technology companies to properly integrate these fraud-blocking technologies and also encourage investments in cybersecurity initiatives,” said Belmonte.

Previously, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said it had blocked “inside China” cyberattacks on the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and the mailboxes of the DICT itself, the Philippine Coast Guard and the official website of the President.

Private companies must also protect both their businesses and their customers against hackers who use their brands for fraud.

Citing a Globe Telecom report, Belmonte said the 1.1 billion fraudulent and spam messages blocked in the first quarter of 2023 “emphasize the alarming intensification of cyberattacks we are facing.”

That's whyhe urged consumers and Internet users to exercise caution online and remain vigilant against the various techniques used by fraudulent individuals to hack or defraud.

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