National Maritime Polytechnic’s (NMP) designated Data Protection Officer (DPO), Mr. Andrew D. Soledad participated in the two-day 1st National Data Privacy Conference spearheaded by the National Privacy Commission (NPC) on 28-29 May 2018 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Pasay City.
The event was conducted in the wake of the recent spate of media reports linked to data breaches and other privacy-related concerns, thus urging all government, businesses, and civil society organizations to publicly commit to safeguarding people’s personal data.
More than 2,000 DPOs nationwide gathered during the said activity representing various government agencies, major sectors of the economy, mass media and civil society. The conference was likewise attended by some key officials of the government including among others Special Assistant to the President, Christopher “Bong” Go, who was the event’s guest of honor.
SAP “Bong” Go in his speech, urged the public to guard against cybercriminals who hack information for unlawful purposes.
Topics discussed delved on the implementation of Republic Act (RA) 10173 otherwise known as the Data Privacy Act of 2012 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR). It was stressed that the Act aims to protect the personal data of every Filipino while allowing a free flow of information through data processors (government and private institutions) given that certain data security measures are in place.
It was also emphasized during the event that each agency will be assessed based on the five (5) pillars of Data Privacy Accountability and Compliance: (1) Appoint a DPO; (2) Conduct a Privacy Impact Assessment; (3) Develop a Privacy Management Program and Privacy Manual; (4) Implement Privacy and Data Protection Measures; and (5) Regularly exercise breach reporting procedure.
Series of orientation workshops were conducted which focused on the different processes on how to comply with the aforementioned Act. Taking into account that government is the primary personal data processor, the conference also highlighted the challenges being faced by the nation as a whole in terms of data flow from one agency to another considering the sensitive personal information being processed.
It was also announced that privacy compliance sweeps or random checking of websites of companies will be conducted to determine if secured from any data breaches. Its results will be used as the basis for further probes and full-scale compliance checks.
To ensure data security and create public awareness on data privacy rights, NPC also launched during the conference a year-long advocacy campaign focusing on responsible digital citizenship among Filipinos called the Privacy, Safety, Security and Trust (PSST!) Online. The campaign is aimed at arming Filipinos with the information and self-help tools they can use to protect themselves and their loved-ones from the dangers arising from the careless handling of their own personal data when using online applications and services on their mobile and desktop devices.
In compliance with the aforementioned Act and pursuant to Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Administrative Order No. 253, series of 2018, NMP created its Data Privacy Technical Committee through the issuance of NMP OED Special Order No. 066.2018 dated 22 May 2018.
The Committee was tasked among others to formulate and update Agency’s Data Privacy Program, Data Privacy Manual, and other policies and guidelines in order to protect the personal information of its data subjects, the Filipino seafarers, stakeholders, and employees.
Insights gained during the conference helped the NMP designated DPO in crafting the Agency’s Data Privacy Manual which needs to be submitted to the DOLE–DPO on or before 31 May 2018 as targeted in the NMP’s Office Performance Commitment Review (OPCR). The manual encapsulates the privacy and data protection protocols that need to be observed and carried out within the Agency for specific circumstances, directed toward the fulfillment and realization of the rights of the data subjects.
Compliance with the Data Privacy Act does not only serve as a personal information security but at the same time boosting the reputation of an institution by providing services shielded with measures that secure personal information of its employees and stakeholders.
Meanwhile, NMP continues to upgrade its facilities and provide maritime training required pursuant to the Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) Convention as amended in 2010 including value-adding courses towards improving the qualifications of Filipino seafarers for their employment acceptability and enhanced competitiveness.
Those interested to take NMP training programs may visit the NMP website (www.nm.gov.ph) and its Facebook page (www.facebook.com/nmptrainingcenter) where all related information on NMP training are available.