April 30, 2018

Why the Philippines?

The Philippines is the third fastest growing economy in Asia after China and Vietnam, with strong GDP growth of 6.7% for the entire year of 2017, according to the Philippines’ National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)[1]. The World Bank expects the Philippines to continue its robust economic growth in the next three years and to continue its reign as the fastest growing economy in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)[2]. The security industry in the Philippines mirrors its economic growth with significant domestic demand for safety and security products.



The Philippine government has recognized Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as one of the key enablers for national economic growth but given the heavy reliance on ICT, it is imperative that its information infrastructure is resilient against cyber threats. The National Cybersecurity Plan 2022 was launched in May 2017 with the objectives of securing the country’s critical cyber infrastructure, establishing resilience against cyber threats, driving effective coordination among law enforcement agencies and educating the nation about cybersecurity[3].

These cyber security initiatives are expected to create demand and opportunities in the Philippines. In a study commissioned by Cisco Systems, Inc. titled “Cybersecurity in ASEAN: An Urgent Call to Action”, it was recommended for the Philippines to invest as much as $8.8 billion on cybersecurity by 2025 to be in line with the average benchmark for mature markets such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany. A study by AT Kearny research also recommends a cybersecurity spending of $22.8 billion from 2017 to 2022 in order to bolster its cybersecurity defense.  The Philippines is expected to have one of the highest spending on cybersecurity alongside Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia among ASEAN countries[4].

 Safe Cities

Safe Cities

The Philippines’ spending on infrastructure rose by 45% in just the month of November in 2017[5] and its government has committed to boost its spending on industrial and critical infrastructure from 5.32 percent of its GDP in 2017 to more than 7 percent of its GDP by 2022[6].

With extensive investments on infrastructure, it is imperative for physical measures and policies to be put in place in order to ensure readiness against deliberate attacks. In fact, according to Kaspersky Lab’s Industrial CyberThreats Real Time Map, the Philippines is the 46th most attacked country globally by Industrial Control Systems (ICS) and critical infrastructure attackers[7]. Manila was also ranked 56th among 60 cities in terms of infrastructure security in the Safe Cities Index 2017 by The Economist Intelligence Unit[8].

Border Management

Pacific island nations are increasingly vulnerable to trans-border organized crimes that include drug, small arms and human trafficking, migrant smuggling, as well as unsanctioned environmental exploitation, a report by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime revealed[9].

The archipelago of the Philippines is comprised of approximately 7,100 islands. The Philippines is also positioned in a strategic maritime location through which approximately 80 percent of crude oil shipments bound for Japan and Korea pass by through the Straits of Luzon (Interpol, 2016)[10].

Due to the location and position of this nation within the international transport system, this area holds much geostrategic importance in the region, but also carries potential for the spread and growth of transnational organized crime such as drug trafficking, piracy, money laundering, human trafficking, production, distribution and use of fraudulent travel documents and terrorism.

Taking a public and private partnership approach in addition to seeking regional and international collaboration, the Philippine government has embarked on a coordinated approach to tackle these transnational criminal activities.

Cooperation in capacity building, sharing of intelligence and the increasing use of technologies will be the key enablers in combating transnational and organized crime.



[1] Statement of Socioeconomic Planning Secretary on the Q4 and Full-year 2017 Performance of the Philippine Economy http://www.neda.gov.ph/2018/01/23/13833/

[2] PH to remain fastest-growing economy in Asean — World Bank, 10 January 2018


[3] National Cybersecurity Plan 2022 http://www.dict.gov.ph/national-cybersecurity-plan-2022/

[4] Philippines should spend $22.8 billion on cybersecurity — study http://www.philstar.com/business/2018/01/24/1780977/philippines-should-spend-22.8-billion-cybersecurity-study

[5] Government infrastructure spending surges 45% in November, 5 January 2018. http://www.philstar.com/business/2018/01/05/1774613/government-infrastructure-spending-surges-45-november

[6] Increased Infra spending to boost PH economy – NEDA http://www.neda.gov.ph/2017/09/08/increased-infra-spending-to-boost-ph-economy-neda/

[7] Philippines is the 46th most targeted country by ICS security attackers: report, 7 March 2017. https://www.computerworld.ph/tech/infrastructure/philippines-is-the-46th-most-targeted-country-by-ics-security-attackers-report/

[8] Safe Cities Index 2017 – Security in a rapidly urbanising world https://dkf1ato8y5dsg.cloudfront.net/uploads/5/82/safe-cities-index-eng-web.pdf

[9] The globalization of crime – A transnational organized crime threat http://www.unodc.org/documents/southeastasiaandpacific//Publications/2016/2016.09.16_TOCTA_Pacific_web.pdf

[10] https://maga.fiu.edu/academic-tracks/capstone-project/2016-capstone-working-papers/capstone-final-edit-fears-and-sainpaulin.pdf