Brussels- Belgium, Despite being a newcomer to data privacy regulation, the Philippines has earned a voting seat in the 5-member executive committee of the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (ICDPPC), a worldwide conference of 119 independent regulators from all over the world, coming together to explore high-level proposals on data privacy and protection. The ICDPPC is considered the world premier body on data protection and privacy. The voting was held on October 23, 2018 during the closed session meeting at the Palais D’ Egmont in Brussels Belgium.

Commissioner Raymund Enriquez Liboro of the National Privacy Commission (NPC) has led the Philippines’ active involvement in the conference for the last two years, drawing attention to the country’s efforts to step up to global data protection standards with a uniquely Asian approach to regulation. “It is an honor for the NPC to represent the country at the ICDPPC, especially in a leadership capacity. This is an acknowledgement of the hard work we expend, as well as the country’s commitment to data protection,” Liboro said.

The Conference’s Executive Committee is composed of seven elected members plus one observer with a term of two years. Aside from the Philippines, the current members include the privacy authorities of Australia, Canada, Burkina Faso, Bulgaria, Albania, Mexico, and the United Kingdom which holds the chairmanship under Commissioner Elizabeth Denham. The conference has two additional members, comprising of the next hosting authorities namely: Albania and Mexico. The 2018 Conference has attracted more than 1200 delegates all over the world.

“Having a seat at the committee’s table to take part in addressing challenges that privacy regulators face is definitely a privilege for the NPC. It’s an opportunity for learning from each other’s experience. Definitely, the Philippines although young has a lot to contribute too especially in assisting new members.” Liboro added.

The conference continues to grow having approved four additional members in the recent closed session coming from Germany, Korea, and Argentina; and eleven new authorities with observer status, notably from Asia, namely: India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and Abu Dhabi.

The NPC’s election comes at a time when the call for a new world order governing data is gaining traction on a global scale.

“What we are seeing today is a crisis of trust that is fueled by unauthorized profiling, surveillance and increasing cases of personal data breaches. It’s a hint for us take a different tact and integrate ethics in the way we process personal data” Liboro said.

As part of the committee, the NPC is expected to take part in setting the agenda of the conference and in defining its strategic direction for the next two years.

“I’m very happy that the Philippines is becoming a new member of the Executive Committee. I think it shows the geographical diversification of this Executive Committee – the fact that new entities are entering and bringing energy and new ideas to this Executive Committee. I think it strengthened the International Conference so it’s a very good signal and I’m happy to welcome the Philippine authority in the group,” French Privacy Commissioner Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin and outgoing Chair of the ICDPPC, said.

The NPC became an ICDPPC member in October 2016 after passing membership requirements and demonstrating commitment to global standards in protecting personal data and privacy in the Philippines. At the time, the NPC was only several months old, having been formed in March that same year. Since then, the NPC steadily advocated for the Philippines and the Asian regional voice to resonate in the global forum.

It has co-authored resolutions on: artificial intelligence, e-learning, conference census, and the future of the conference. It is also sitting in the working group for cross-border privacy law enforcement. The Philippines has always been cited for its creative approaches and constructive stakeholder engagement.