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Philippines protects digital trading platform by implementing cybersecurity features

An announcement made by the Department of Finance (DOF) highlighted on the cybersecurity features that they are implementing on their digital trading platform, TradeNet. This platform needs protection from unauthorised access and cyberattacks as this helps reduce processing time and number of transactions for import and export clearances.

DOF revealed that TradeNet, a digital trading platform having the goal of reducing both the processing time and the number of transactions needed for import and export clearances, will be strengthened with cybersecurity features. This is significant in protecting the site from unauthorised access and other forms of cyberattacks.

DOF Undersecretary Gil Beltran explained that TradeNet will undergo a series of periodic vulnerability reviews to test its integrity.

During a recent DOF Executive Committee (ExeCom) meeting, USec Beltran reported to DOF Secretary Carlos Dominguez III that, “Our cybersecurity system will be implemented to provide monitoring and continuous vigilance services for TradeNet.”

The TradeNet platform was launched last December. It will also serve as the link of the Philippines to the ASEAN Single Window (ASW) gateway. It is expected that with this, the costs of doing business will be minimised. This will also aid in cutting the processing time for the issuance of import and export permits.

The 10 member-states of the ASEAN will benefit from the ASW gateway. Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand are currently using the ASW to exchange information on customs clearances. For other countries, they should expect that with this regional initiative, they will be able to speed up cargo clearances and promote economic integration by enabling the electronic exchange of border documents among themselves.

Initially, traders will be allowed to use the TradeNet system in order to apply for import and export permits for rice; sugar; used motor vehicles; chemicals like toluene; frozen meat; medicines for humans, animals or fish; and cured tobacco according to USec Beltran.

The government has also launched three parallel initiatives apart from TradeNet. Sec Dominguez earlier said that all these initiatives are a part of their “comprehensive deployment of information and communications technology to enhance governance efficiency.”

The first initiative is Government Cloud Service (GovCloud) which was launched by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to serve as the National Government Portal for all government information, transactions and services. GovCloud will significantly reduce red tape and corruption when applying for permits, clearances and other similar documents.

The second initiative is the PHPAY platform by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to function as a centralised online payment portal, transactions ledger and reconciliation system. PHPAY will act as an interface between its service websites and payment facilitators, banks or credit card gateways thus achieving an easier way for private users to pay for permits or applications.

The third initiative is the Philippine Business Data Bank (PBDB). This is a search engine for all registered businesses in the country that will be made available online for government agencies so that they can verify records for business registration and permits. This search engine will allow easier access to information from Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) and the local government units.

TradeNet uses the PBDB for verifying business information. With the help of a common database, the TradeNet platform will eventually link 66 government agencies.

A recent announcement explained more deeply what the PHPAY system is. It was designed to be a secure and reliable collection system in which government clients can transfer payments online for government services, anytime and anywhere.

An earlier announcement explained that PBDB was launched to streamline application and renewal of business permits through the online sharing of information among the government agencies involved in the process.

An even earlier announcement was released highlighting the features of GovCloud. It will use a hybrid cloud strategy guaranteeing data security while enabling on-demand availability of storage and computing resources.

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