DICT advises FB users to set profile to private amid fake account reports

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 8, 2020   •   395

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) advises Facebook users to set their profiles to private amid proliferation of fake accounts.

In a statement, the DICT said they are working closely with the National Privacy Commission (NPC) and Facebook Philippines to investigate the matter.

“The DICT has also instructed its Cyber Security Bureau to actively coordinate with law enforcement agencies and provide the necessary technical assistance on information sharing and analysis needed to address this matter,” the statement reads.

The DICT urges the public to immediately report any fake or dummy accounts they encounter on Facebook through this link www.facebook.com/help/report. AAC

AFP condemns accusation against army member over fake Facebook accounts

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 25, 2020

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has condemned the accusation against one of their members over several fake accounts recently shut down by Facebook.

United States-based Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research (DFR), identified Philippine Army Captain Alexandre Cabales as operator of the social media pages that Facebook took down for engaging in “coordinated inauthentic behavior” targeting domestic audiences in the Philippines.

AFP Spokesperson Major General Edgar Arevalo said Facebook and the said digital forensic group should review their policies on privacy carefully since identifying Cabales violated his privacy. Arevalo said this has placed the reputation and safety of Cabales at risk.

“This is a breach of his personal identity and personal security, dahil po sa paglabas na ito ng kanyang pangalan at hindi naman sya nabibigyan ng pagkakataon na ipaliwanag ang kanyang panig, (because they released his name and [Cabales] was not able to explain his side)” he said.

The AFP also defended Cabales by explaining that the information posted in official accounts linked to the Philippine Army is legitimate and authentic.

Cabales heads the social media center of the AFP and is reportedly connected to ‘Hands Off Our Children’ page which has been taken down by Facebook.

“Sa pagtake-down nito ang naapektuhan ng malaki at parang napaboran pa ay itong pagre-recruit ng communist terrorist group, (By taking down these pages it will greatly favor the recruitment of the communist terrorist group),” Arevalo said.

Facebook took down over 100 accounts and pages in their social media due to violation in their policy. These include 31 pages and 77 Facebook and Instagram accounts allegedly linked to individuals affiliated with the Philippine military.

“They posted in Filipino and English about local news and events including domestic politics, military activities against terrorism, the pending anti-terrorism bill, criticism of communism, youth activists and opposition, the Communist Party of the Philippines and its military wing the New People’s Army, and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines […] our investigation found links to Philippine military and Philippine police,” Facebook said in a statement. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

DICT ramps up issuance of registration certificates to tower firms

Robie de Guzman   •   September 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) on Tuesday said it is accelerating the roll-out of common towers in the country by issuing provisional registration certificates to tower companies.

In a statement, the DICT said 23 provisional independent tower company (ITC) certificates of registration were issued to tower firms with prior memorandum of understanding/agreement (MOU/MOA) with the department.

The provisional certificate serves as the provisional authority to own, construct, manage, and operate one or more Passive Telecommunications Towers Infrastructures, the DICT said.

“Due to the ongoing health crisis and in compliance with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s directive, provisional certificates of registrations were granted to ITCs that already have existing MOUs/MOAs with DICT,” DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan II said.

“This should provide them with ample time to complete all the requirements for full ITC registration and permitting within the time period. Likewise, this should also provide enough time for ITCs to start their roll-out,” he added.

The 23 ITCs with existing MOUs/MOAs are deemed registered under DICT Department Circular 008 series of 2020 or the Policy Guidelines on the Co-Location and Sharing of Passive Telecommunications Tower Infrastructure for Macro Cell Sites, provided that said ITCs promptly file their complete documentary requirements and pay the necessary processing fees for full registration as an ITC, the department said.

The 23 ITCs with Provisional ITC Certificates of Registration are the following:

  • Aboitiz Infracapital, Inc.
  • ACODA Towers SDN BHD
  • Alt-Global-Solutions Inc.
  • Transcend Towers Infrastructure (Philippines), Inc.
  • China Construction First Group Corp. and Wingan Construction and Development Corporation
  • China Construction Yangtze River (M) SDN BHD
  • China Energy Equipment Co., Ltd
  • CREI Management Services FZE
  • Desarrollos Terrestres, Inc.
  • EEI Corporation
  • Frontier Tower Associates Philippines, Inc.
  • IHS Holding Limited
  • Inforient Sdn. Bhd.
  • ISOC EDOTCO Towers, Inc.
  • ISON Tower Ltd. Inc.
  • J.S Cruz Construction and Development Inc.
  • MGS Construction Inc.
  • Phil-Tower Consortium Inc.
  • RT Telecom SDN. BHD.
  • Shinheung Telecom Co., Ltd.
  • Tamoin Industrial Services Corporation
  • Tiger Infrastructure Pte. Ltd.
  • UA Withya Public Company Ltd.

The provisional certificate is valid until December 31, 2020.

“We need these tower companies to continue mobilizing and building out towers now, that’s why we granted them this provisional certificate to ease their transition under the new circular,” Honasan said.

“We have to be diligent to ensure capacity of certified ITCs and we need to balance diligence with the urgency to improve our current ICT infrastructure,” he added.

The DICT urged other interested tower companies to register through its online portal.

Under the online procedure, applicants must fill out the application form and attach the complete required documents at the ITC Registration Page.  The procedure, list of  complete documentary requirements, and information on how to qualify as an ITC can be found in the portal.

Pursuant to DC No. 11, s. 2020, all applicants for ITC registration shall complete their submission of the original, notarized, authenticated, and/or certified true copies of all required documents, together with the duly accomplished and notarized application form, to the DICT in person, by courier/mail, or through postage prepaid, within thirty (30) days after the state of public health emergency is lifted.

Only complete applications will be processed and be issued Order to Pay initial processing fee. Incomplete applications or supporting documents shall not be considered as filed, the DICT said.

Applicants with incomplete application will be informed of any additional information or document required to continue the processing of application for ITC Certificate of Registration.

For applicants with denied registration, the DICT will inform them of the reason for the disapproval of their application.

“This new registration system is a big step towards our goal of reducing procedural delays in the permitting of ITCs. This will also allow the continuance of our services amid the community quarantine. With the application now done online, we hope to encourage more ITCs to register with the DICT and avail of the advantages of the whole common tower initiative,” Honasan said.

“All of these efforts that we are doing are in response to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s call to improve the Philippines’ Internet connectivity,” he added.

DICT seeks P46.6-B 2021 budget for PH digital transformation

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 14, 2020

The Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) is seeking the approval of its P46.6 billion budget for 2021.

In a statement, DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan II said the budget will be for the effective implementation of the department’s strategic programs towards digital transformation in the new normal.

Several of DICT’s project include, the Digital Connectivity and Access programs, particularly the National Broadband Program (NBP), the Free WiFi for All in Public Places and State Universities and Colleges Program, and the Government Emergency Communications System.

“Digital connectivity and access is the foundation of digital transformation. It is only with secure and reliable Internet connectivity for every Filipino can we implement programs and initiatives towards digitalization in various sectors of our society,” Honasan said.

The proposed budget for FY 2021 is significantly much higher than its current budget for FY 2020 which amounts only to around 6 Billion Pesos.

“The call for digital transformation has never been more urgent. We need all the resources to fast track the country’s digital transformation for us to better adapt to the new normal brought by the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to Honasan. –AAC

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