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Czech Embassy Manila Calls for a Collective Action to Fortify Global Cybersecurity

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On-site speakers and guests from Philippine government agencies, academe, and private institutions joined the Czech Embassy in Manila’s hybrid conference on cybersecurity

Led by Ambassador Jana Šedivá, the Czech Embassy in Manila’s hybrid conference titled “Czech Connect 2022: Exploring Cyberspace through International and Local Lens”, on October 27, 2022, became a successful avenue for cybersecurity experts around the world to share their technical and analytical know-hows to combat the prevalent cyber threats related to education, foreign investments, ongoing geopolitical issues, and national security.   

The hybrid conference was organized by the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Manila to support the priorities of the Czech Presidency of the European Union Council for collective action on securing cyberspace. Mr. Richard Kadlčák, Special Envoy for Cyber Space and Director of the Cybersecurity Department of the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs, graced the event directly from the Czech Republic. He mentioned that cybersecurity is a global challenge and thus demands a global solution. 

Additionally, Secretary Ivan John Uy of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) delivered a keynote speech on the government programs and projects in solving the prevalent cyber challenges in the Philippines, such as the Cyber Safe Ph Campaign, and highlighted cybersecurity as one of the priorities of the current administration.

Secretary Uy added, “in this new reality, it is imperative that cybersecurity be given the same importance as personal security.”

Ms. Gladys De Ocampo, Assistant Chief of the Cybersecurity Bureau of the DICT, attended the event to support Secretary Uy and answered inquiries from the audience regarding the roadmap for cyber defense in the Philippines and the proliferation of text scams in the country. 

Filipino IT experts also physically joined the Czech Embassy in Manila during the conference at the Discovery Suites in Pasig City. 

Mr. Lito Averia of Secure Connections, a private coalition of cybersecurity stakeholders, presented the critical information infrastructure in the Philippines. He discussed the lack of policies governing cybersecurity in the Philippines and the possible ways to address them, including the passage of a legislative bill filed in the Philippine Congress. This was backed up by Ms. Christine Castillo, a Research Officer at the National Defense College of the Philippines. She further discussed the critical role of the Department of National Defense in strengthening national security and military systems to safeguard the country from cyber-attacks. 

Cybersecurity experts across the globe entertain questions from on-site and online participants during the open forum portion of the program.

In attendance as well via Zoom were Mrs. Monika Kutějová from the National Cyber and Information Security Agency (NÚKIB) and Mr. Ondřej Kopečný of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) of the Czech Republic. The Czech speakers remotely discussed how to address the common and complex cyber challenges faced by the education sector and private sector, specifically in protecting the data of universities and screening activities of investors with malicious interests. 

The last part of the program included the presentations of NÚKIB specialist Mr. Michal Thim and Filipino cybersecurity expert Mr. Miguel Alberto Gomez, wherein both discussed how cyber operations played a massive part in the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and Europe caused by Russia. They both pointed out the need for collaboration between the private sector and the government of countries to address such issues and prevent possible cyber aggressions. 

Czech Ambassador Jana Šedivá delivers her speech during the cybersecurity conference of the Czech Embassy in Manila.

Along with the discussions, a panel discussion moderated by Mr. Anthony Garcia, ICT Director at Miriam College, was conducted where attendees had a better chance to interact with the presenters. 

The Czech Presidency of the European Union Council aims to advance its cooperation with its democratic partners and international organizations to raise the public discourse in increasing the stability and security of cyberspace. Consistently, the Czech Connect 2022 emphasized the need for concerted efforts and proactive measures.

“Given the interconnectedness of the communities in society and cyberspace, the risks of digital threats affect everyone. Hence, there is no better way to solve the challenges in securing global cyberspace than a concerted initiative”, said Ambassador Šedivá. 

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