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The Philippines and Estonia Collaborate on E-Governance and Cybersecurity

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Collaboration and cooperation in areas like e-governance and cybersecurity are becoming not just desirable but imperative between Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Ivan John Uy of the Philippines and Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas. Their agreement, made on the sidelines of the Tallinn Digital Summit (TDS) 2023, signifies a new chapter in the relationship between their nations.

Secretary Ivan wasted no time in apprising Prime Minister Kallas of the Philippines’ proactive approach to fostering this collaboration. He revealed that the Philippines is already in the process of preparing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on digital cooperation. While the finalisation of this MoU awaits inputs from relevant stakeholders, it holds the promise of being a foundational document that will facilitate future agreements between the two nations.

The significance of this MoU extends beyond mere paperwork. As Secretary Ivan aptly put it, it will serve as a gateway to deeper collaboration across various fields of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). This cooperation isn’t merely about enhancing technological capabilities; it’s about catalysing the Philippine government’s digital transformation and fortifying the nation’s cybersecurity defences. In an age where data and information are among a nation’s most valuable assets, safeguarding them is paramount.

Prime Minister Kallas echoed these sentiments by emphasising Estonia’s commitment to upholding international law in cyberspace. In an era plagued by relentless global cyber threats, such a commitment takes on monumental significance. It’s not just about defending individual nations but protecting the fabric of the interconnected world.

Secretary Ivan, in response, underlined the pivotal role of international law in deterring and mitigating cyberattacks. These sentiments expressed during the meeting reflect a shared recognition of the evolving challenges and responsibilities in the digital age.

The Philippines’ ICT Chief also shared insights into the nation’s intentions regarding artificial intelligence (AI) and other frontier technologies. The country aims to draft policies that not only harness the potential of these technologies but also ensure their responsible and ethical use. To this end, the Philippines is keenly observing the European Commission’s development of similar policies, reflecting a commitment to learning from global best practices.

The significance of this bilateral meeting was further underscored by the historical context. Secretary Ivan made history by leading the Philippine delegation to the TDS, becoming the first DICT Secretary to do so. The delegation, composed of distinguished individuals from various government departments, exemplified the nation’s dedication to fostering international collaboration in the digital realm.

The Tallinn Digital Summit, an annual gathering of world leaders from digital nations, serves as the perfect backdrop for such ground-breaking agreements. This year’s summit focused on promoting open, resilient, and responsive governance worldwide. Estonia, as one of the world’s digital pioneers, consistently earns top rankings in global indices for digital public services, cybersecurity, and internet penetration. It’s a testament to their commitment to harnessing the power of technology for the betterment of society.

The agreement between the Philippines and Estonia in the realms of e-governance and cybersecurity is not just about strengthening ties between the two nations; it’s about fortifying the digital defences of the global community. In an age where technology is both an asset and a potential threat, such collaboration represents a beacon of hope, a shared commitment to harnessing the digital era’s potential for the greater good of all.

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