PH leading ASEAN efforts to protect privacy

Raymund Enriquez Liboro

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) took a major step towards harmonizing regional data protection and privacy regulations at the first ASEAN Data Protection and Privacy Forum, held in Bangkok.

The inaugural meeting was chaired by Philippines Privacy Commissioner Raymund Enriquez Liboro, which aimed to create a forum for data privacy regulators and privacy enforcement agencies to share knowledge and best practices as it relates to data and privacy protection. 

“The ASEAN must harness technologies and digital innovation to its advantage through effective policies that will enable greater movement of data and ease of market access that will bridge the digital divide among the Member States and at the same time, provide guidance to its digital citizens in protecting their data. We must ensure that everybody can benefit from the digital economy and that no one is left behind. That is the ASEAN Way,” Liboro said in his welcome remarks.

With the increasing global concern over privacy, “responsible data stewardship and data management across the region will protect and benefit all our citizens and certainly boost the region’s competitiveness,” Liboro added.

All 10 ASEAN Member States were present at the forum, said Liboro. 

“Though ASEAN Member States are in varying stages of development when it comes to their respective data protection and privacy regimes, the Forum ensures that everyone has a seat on the table especially in tackling common issues on data protection and privacy.”

To date, 3 ASEAN countries have data protection laws and established a data privacy authority regulator. These are the Philippines, Singapore, and Malaysia. Just recently, Thailand passed its own data protection law, while other states in the region such as Indonesia are in various stages of developing their own data protection and data privacy laws.

The focus on data protection comes at a time when the Philippines’ POGO, or offshore gambling market has been thriving. 

As many as 60 online gambling operators are licensed through the POGO licensing system.