Government urged to fast track implementation of DPA

Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman) - September 5, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The government is called anew to fortify its efforts in implementing the Data Privacy Act (DPA), as Filipinos are yet to fully appreciate the importance of insisting their right to privacy.

Emiliano Librea III, head of advisory services of P&A Grant Thorton said it’s because of the Filipino trait, which is “naturally friendly”, the full implementation of privacy law will take time.

Except for multinational companies (MNCs), Librea, whose firm is offering expertise in implementing DPA, noted that fewer Filipino-owned organizations are religiously adopting the law in their system, largely because of cultural background.

Republic Act 10173 or DPA was created to protect the fundamental human right of privacy or communication while ensuring the free flow of information to promote innovation and growth.

The law also regulates the collection, recording, organization, storage, updating or modification, retrieval, consultation, use, consolidation, blocking, erasure or destruction of personal data.

It also ensures that the Philippines complies with international standards set for data protection through the National Privacy Commission (NPC).

While this law is necessary for individual and organizations alike to adopt to, its success will take a while, as demanding for privacy or insisting for privacy is not inherent to Filipino culture.

The government however, could help in shaping this culture, by providing much aggressive awareness program on the threat of privacy invasion especially in this digital era.

“The times have changed. It’s a lot riskier now. Our being friendly sometimes exposes us to risks. And a lot of us don’t realize this,” warned Librea who was in Cebu recently to speak before participants of a seminar entitled “Sharpening the Supply Chain.”

At this kind of environment, Librea warned that Filipinos should be cautious when sharing information including in social media, as such information may be used against them.

Filipinos are naturally sociable to the point that even private details are easily out in the public. In social media for instance, Filipinos’ fondness of using the platform to disclose life’s activities including the location and the people they are with can endanger them.

Meanwhile, pursuant to Republic Act 10173 otherwise known as the DPA, companies are urged to comply this new privacy law and establish a separate department to take care of clients, employees' sensitive and personal information.

The surge of cyberattacks and data breaches, and cybercrime can be prevented if personal information shared by people in banks, hospitals, schools, in companies, among others are being property protected.

The government has installed the NPC to serve as the country’s data privacy and data protection watchdog mandated to uphold the right to data privacy and ensure the free flow of information to promote economic growth and innovation.

Companies with at least 250 employees are required to register with NPC, while those that employ below 250 need not register with NPC, but they are still required to comply with the law.

Businesses such as schools or academic institutions, hospitals and healthcare firms, and industries that deal heavily with data must need to set-up a separate department, which main and only task is to ensure that the organization’s data is well protected.

Under the law, companies are required to appoint personal information controllers (PIC) and processors, conduct privacy impact assessment, create their own privacy management program, implement privacy and data protection measures and regularly exercise breach reporting procedures.

Companies, on the other hand have started to appoint a DPO in their respective businesses, however, there are still have some that don’t know how to go about it, and may not be aware of the consequences provided for by the law, Librea added.

P&A Grant Thorton are helping businesses across industries comply with the DPA from the appointment of the DPO up to the monitoring of their compliance of the law.

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