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Thirteen information technology (IT) security leads from different government agencies have attained globally recognized certification on various Microsoft technologies as part of the Microsoft Government Security Program (GSP).

The following Microsoft-certified professionals were recognized during the recent Microsoft GSP technical team meeting and recognition day: Col. Gilbert C. Sosa, Capt. Ariel Ilumin, Maj. Elbert F.Pajente, and Levy Lozada from the Philippine National Police - Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG); Irmino Noel Ilumin, Rameses Denzo, and Victor Michael C. Bande from the Office of the President (OP); Rosalinda Hulugin, Avelino Natabio, and Armando Cunanan from Presidential Management Staff (PMS) OP; P/Supt. Eleanor Lampa and Mina Haydee Matillano from the PNP Computer Service; and Ma. Josefina V. Recometa from the PNP Communication and Electronics (Commel) Service.

The Government Security Program is an initiative which provides national governments with access to Windows source codes and technical information. Two years ago, the Philippine government signed up to be part of the program. Over the past two years, more than 30 IT security leads from 11 government agencies have gone in depth training.

"Through Government Security Program, Microsoft hopes to equip the government's IT security leads with the necessary knowledge to help them protect the government's internal IT infrastructure," said Mark Yambot, Microsoft Philippines Corporate Affairs Director.

Aside from the agencies of the 13 IT security leads recognized, GSP member agencies include Armed Forces of the Philippines/Philippine Air Force, Air Transportation Office, Advanced Sciences and Technology Institute (ASTI), Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), National Computer Center (NCC), the House of Representatives, and the Senate.
According to Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) Commissioner Tim Diaz de Rivera, security plays a significant role in the government's IT infrastructure. "As the lead agency promoting the use of ICT in the government, we are taking all the possible steps to ensure that our system is secure because government systems are very attractive targets to cyber-criminals," said Diaz de Rivera.

Recently, the United Nations eGovernment Readiness Survey recognized the Philippines' eGovernment readiness efforts based on the 2005 Global eGovernment Readiness Report. The Philippines placed 41st overall and fourth among Southeast Asian countries, ahead of Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam. The report, which centered on the three key aspects of web presence, extent of connectivity, and human skills/educational level of the people, cited the government portal (www.gov.ph) as "at par with the best in the world and could be considered a good practice."

"Security has always been a vital element of our eGovernment efforts and it is important for our IT leads to be well-educated and well-trained in terms of security. Microsoft's Government Security Program is a good model of the government's substantive, long term collaboration with the private sector to advance the integration of ICT in the government," Diaz de Rivera said.

"Microsoft's Government Security Program will continue training and we hope to be able to involve more IT security leads in this program. We will ensure that the group meets regularly to pursue the initiatives around securing the government IT infrastructure," added Yambot.
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