PH, Singapore sign MOU on personal data protection

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DEAL. National Privacy Commission Privacy Commissioner Raymund Liboro (right) and Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) Commissioner Tan Kiat How sign an MOU on personal data protection on September 9, 2019. Photo from NPC

MANILA, Philippines –The Philippines and Singapore have signed a bilateral agreement that seeks to strengthen cooperation between the two countries in safeguarding their citizens' personal information.

President Rodrigo Duterte and Singaporean President Halimah Yacob witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in Malacañang between the Philippines’ National Privacy Commission (NPC) and Singapore's Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) on Monday, September 9. (READ: Philippines, Singapore sign 8 deals as Duterte meets Halimah)

The MOU – signed by NPC Privacy Commissioner Raymund Enriquez Liboro and PDPC Commissioner Tan Kiat How – was among the agreements signed on the occasion of the visit of the Singaporean president to the Philippines.

The NPC said in a press statement on Tuesday, September 10, that the MOU is the first data protection-related MOU signed between two ASEAN member states.

Under the MOU, the two countries "agreed to share best practices in personal data protection and develop compatible mechanisms to facilitate trusted cross border data flows, including mutual recognition of comparable protection afforded by their respective laws to safeguard both Philippines and Singapore citizens," the NPC said.

"The MOU reaffirms and strengthens the working relationship between the two countries to improve personal data protection and foster trust in cross border data flows," the agency added.

Privacy Commissioner Liboro said that following the signing of the MOU, the two countries look forward to "exchanges of information and best practices to foster innovation." (READ: Among 13 countries, Philippines most worried about data security)

The two countries will also work cooperate on data privacy enforcement, he said.

"This is a reaffirmation of both the Philippines’ and Singapore’s recognition of the importance of data governance and cross border data flows to global trade in a digital economy,” Liboro said.

PDPC Commissioner Tan, for his part, said that the MOU signals Singapore's continued strong partnership with the Philippines.

Singapore is pleased to continue fostering closer collaborations with partners such as the Philippines to drive a robust data protection regime crucial to promoting and safeguarding cross border data flows that are the lifeblood of the digital economy," Tan said.

"Our work will include developing mechanisms to facilitate cross-border data flow, such as the APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules and ASEAN Cross-Border Data Flows Mechanism, and best practices to enable data innovation, through the use of data sharing sandboxes,” he added. –

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