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An Overview of Internet Infrastructure and Governance in the Philippines

The Cyber Stewards Network is pleased to announce the release of a report titled “An Overview of Internet Infrastructure and Governance in the Philippines.” The report outlines the key actors, regulatory structures, and challenges facing the development of the information and communication technology (ICT) sector in the country, as well as privacy and security concerns.

The report begins by outlining the political context of the Philippines and then describes the regulatory landscape and mandates of various organizations responsible for decision-making, as they relate to the establishment and operations of ICTs.

Throughout the document, key issues relating to access, privacy, and human rights more broadly are flagged. In particular, the report identifies gaps in state capacity and ICT leadership as germane to policy issues in the Philippines, including a lack of coordination among state agencies and the government’s absence from multistakeholder fora like the Internet Governance Forum. Finally, the report explores issues related to communications surveillance, online piracy, and anti-obscenity initiatives.

Key Findings

  • The absence of an overall, nationwide access strategy for information and communications technology means that basic elements of this access have not been put in place.
  • Rapid advances in technology have outpaced policy and legislative arrangements on many levels, as suggested by the Supreme Court’s decision on libel provisions of the Cybercrime Prevention Act.
  • Unlike some of its Southeast Asian neighbours, the Philippines does not have a history of content controls, though recent developments suggest that content controls could be on the horizon, including anti-obscenity and anti-piracy initiatives, as well as the use communications surveillance tools by the government.

Based on these findings, the Foundation for Media Alternatives made recommendations for future improvement, which are briefly outlined below.


  • Support and build up champions of a progressive ICT agenda among current and future government officials.
  • Build a new ICT masterplan that incorporates a clear Internet governance framework, one that is developed in close consultation with various stakeholders, including civil society.
  • Develop the capacity of key institutions governing the ICT sector, including the Department of Information and Communications Technology and National Telecommunications Commission, by ensuring their financial viability and enabling them to respond to regulatory challenges.
  • Produce a post-2015 ASEAN ICT master plan in a consultative environment, both at the national and regional levels.

Read the full report (PDF).

This research was made possible by the generous support of Hivos Southeast Asia.

Research and writing was completed by Al Alegre, Nica Dumlao, Jamael Jacob, Jessamine Pacis, and Randy Tuano of the Foundation for Media Alternatives (FMA), and Irene Poetranto, Adam Senft, and Amitpal Singh of the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto.

Thanks also to Masashi Crete-Nishihata, Ron Deibert, and Jacqueline Larson.