By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

MOU VS. CYBER ATTACKS. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. witnesses the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) at Malacañan Palace on Monday (March 13, 2023). In his speech, Marcos cited the importance of MOU in fending off cyber attacks on energy infrastructure. (Screengrab from RTVM)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Monday welcomed the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), citing its importance in fending off cyber attacks on energy infrastructure.

Monday’s signing is a very significant event in the continuing effort of the country to protect itself against any attacks in cyberspace, Marcos said in his speech during the event held at Malacañan Palace.

Since the NGCP is in charge of a very critical aspect of the daily lives of Filipinos, Marcos said when it comes to war strategy, “we do – we conduct our wars in the same manner that we conduct our business.”

The President raised the parallelism between the previous global wars and industrial development at the time with the current advancements in business through cyberspace.

“And that is why we are continuing to shore up our defenses when it comes to cybersecurity,” Marcos said.

“And since NGCP is a critical part of our security, of our ability to continue to function as a society, then this is an important day because now we have made more robust the defenses against any possible attacks on our power systems,” he added.

Marcos said the MOU signing is a very good step as the country develops its cyber systems to secure collected data and information and prevent external actors from using them against the Philippines.

Under the MOU, NICA is tasked with integrating collected intelligence information from various government instrumentalities, make an analysis, assess the data and recommend actions in safeguarding NGCP’s transmission assets.

The NGCP, on the other hand, can share vital information on energy-related security issues and provide technical advice to the NICA.

Through the MOU, NICA commits to supply the NGCP with intelligence information to support the protection of power transmission assets that NGCP operates and maintains across the country, while it commits to provide technical assistance to NICA to support and strengthen its cyber security capability.

The NGCP forged the MOU with NICA to effectively deal with attacks from lawless elements after experiencing sabotage and bombing incidents in the past that resulted in injury to its personnel as well as military escorts patrolling the transmission operator’s area of jurisdiction.

The NGCP is a privately owned corporation in charge of operating, maintaining, and developing the country’s state-owned power grid, an interconnected system that transmits gigawatts of power in thousands of volts from generators to consumers.

On the other hand, NICA is the primary intelligence gathering and analysis arm of the government carrying out overt, covert, and clandestine intelligence activities.

NICA directs, coordinates and integrates all government activities involving national intelligence and serves as the focal point for the preparation of intelligence data of local and foreign situations which serve as inputs and guide to the day-to-day decision and policy-making functions of the President as well as other entities. (PNA)