Last week, the Senate and House of Representatives approved the Data Privacy Act. It was then submitted to President Benigno Aquino III for approval.
The Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council stressed that the security of personal data should be prioritized in this measure. Processes for proper control and practice that will help safeguard personal information in the digital system of government and private sectors are also included in the proposed Act.
Meanwhile, House Bill 4115 and Senate Bill 2965 were reconciled by the bipartite conference committee report to help create a National Privacy Commission that will be managed by the Department of Transport and Communications (DOTC).
The Data Privacy Act strives to improve the aptitude of the country’s business process outsourcing (BPO) sector in the global services export arena and reinforce consumer trust and user confidence to electronic businesses.
The bill recently drew flak from journalists who said that it could limit press freedom and compromise the public’s right to information. However, the House of Representatives countered that the approved version will still protect the welfare of journalists and their work, including their sources.
In line with that, Senator Edgardo Angara, Chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology, said that even if the bill aims to protect the integrity and confidentiality of personal data, it will not restrict journalists and media firms for broadcasting news that came from “leaked” information.
Angara reiterated that the measure is created to help attract investors for the e-governance, e-commerce and IT-BPO sector of the Philippines. He also said that other countries already have similar regulations, so it is just normal that the Philippines will follow suit to become more globally competitive.