Saint Louis University (SLU) has been designated as the Global Center of Excellence (GCOE) in Data Privacy and Cybersecurity, in partnership with the National Association of Data Protection Officers of the Philippines (NADPOP) and the Philippine Computer Emergency Response Team (PH-CERT). This strategic alliance aims to enhance the skills and expertise of Data Privacy and Cybersecurity professionals in Baguio City, Benguet Province, CAR, and Regions 1 and 2.

Fr. Gilbert Sales, SLU’s President, emphasized the pivotal role of education institutions in safeguarding privacy rights and combating cyber threats. Dr. Cecilia Mercado, SLU’s Data Protection Officer, highlighted the relentless nature of hackers and stressed the importance of creating a human firewall through awareness and education. Sam Jacoba, Founding President of NADPOP and Vice-President of PH-CERT, underlined the need for a Cyber Army and expressed gratitude for SLU’s commitment to the cause.

At the 6th Annual Year Ender conference, SLU, NADPOP, and PH-CERT formalized their collaboration through a Memorandum of Agreement, recognizing the urgency of a collective approach to protect institutions, organizations, and citizens from cyber threats. Recent high-profile hacks on government institutions like Philhealth and the Philippine Statistics Authority have highlighted the importance of Cybersecurity and Data Privacy.

Recent cybersecurity statistics reveal the Philippines’ vulnerability, ranking fifth in data breaches in Asia since 2004 and fifth in phishing attacks in Southeast Asia in 2022. To strengthen the country’s cyber defenses, PH-CERT signed a Memorandum of Agreement with seven ASEAN countries and Japan to form the ASEAN-Japan Cybersecurity Community Alliance (AJCCA). PH-CERT and NADPOP will collaborate with SLU to leverage resources and expertise from AJCCA, strengthening the cyber defense ecosystem in the Philippines, particularly in SLU’s regional areas.

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