Australia, US want to help PH fight cyberthreat

Australia and the United States are willing to help the Philippines counter cyber threats as much as they are supporting the country's fight against threats to sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea.

Australian Ambassador to Manila HK Yu said Monday, June 24, that Canberra understands the emerging threats in the cyberworld, so it has come up with a strategy to address it.

Yu said Australia considers the Philippines as an important partner in fighting cyber threats, so it "has been working really hard with the Philippines already to cooperate on cybersecurity, bilaterally, on regional programs, and on multilateral fora as well."

"But more can and needs to be done. I'm sure you will agree with me on that. So Australia wants to continue to help the Philippines build your capability around dealing with cyber threats. And we want to work with you to uphold international law and the rules and norms of responsible state behavior in cyberspace," she said in a forum organized by Stratbase ADR Institute.

"Sound familiar? A bit like what we're doing in the South China Sea, yes. And there are really great mechanisms through which you can do this, like the UN Open Ended Working Group on Cyber," she added, encouraging the Philippines to join the group.

Meanwhile, US Ambassador MaryKay Carlson cited Washington's efforts in boosting cybersecurity alliance with Manila.

During this year's Balikatan Exercises, the US and the Philippines "included a cyber defense component for the first time ever."

Also, there are now several defense component combatant commands, like the Indo-Pacific Command and Cyber Command, that have their own programs with the Philippines.

"In a few weeks the United States will host the inaugural US-Philippines Cyber and Digital Dialogue the gentlemen and I talked about. This engagement will elevate technology cooperation as a part of our bilateral relationship, making the Philippines the second country in ASEAN where the United States has a standalone mechanism to discuss cyber and digital issues," she added.

She said stakeholders now know the stakes, so there is a need to strengthenpartnerships to meet common threats.