February 9, 2012
ANGARA: DATA PRIVACY ACT WILL SUPPORT PHL IT-BPO INDUSTRY
Senator Edgardo J. Angara emphasized the importance of protecting the integrity and confidentiality of customer data in bolstering the country's Information Technology and Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry.
Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology then called for the swift passage of a data privacy bill, noting projections that the Philippine IT-BPO industry could boost its revenues from $9 billion in 2011 to $25 billion by 2016.
He also pointed out that employment in the industry could jump from roughly 1 million to 4 million in four years' time.
During interpellations on the Data Privacy Act (SB. No. 2965 under Committee Report No. 56), Angara said, "Right now, we are number one in voice services and call centers. And I think it's very possible for us to become number one in data processing--meaning we can go into higher value-added IT services like engineering, finance, accounting, and healthcare, but only if we have an environment that is protective of data and information.
"Now, one of the biggest disincentives for investment in this sector is our lack of a data protection policy. This bill will fill that gap and we will able to capture a significant portion of the growth projected for the global IT-BPO industry."
Angara, who is also Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science & Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), explained that taken in tandem with the recently passed Cybercrime Prevention Act (SB no. 2796), the Data Privacy Act will uphold the privacy of digital information citizens provide to service providers while promoting Internet freedoms.
He added, "In fact, with the passage of this bill, our data privacy standards will be aligned with the international community."
The veteran lawmaker concluded, "In this period where many Filipinos experience tremendous loss of jobs and lack of income, optimism in the IT-BPO industry is a welcome development. This industry can become the saving grace of the economy. Its expansion, when rolled out, will begin from the Cordilleras down to the South and create a virtuous cycle of growth and development. We have to seize this opportunity."
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