President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (right) and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (left) (Photo from Office of the President Facebook page)

MANILA – The Philippines and Singapore have renewed their commitment to promote personal data protection through the recent signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the two countries.

In a statement on Thursday, the National Privacy Commission (NPC) said NPC Commissioner John Henry Naga and Commissioner Lew Chuen Hong of Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) signed the document to reaffirm their agreement to promote exchanges in personal data protection and “facilitate trusted cross border data flows.”

The document was signed on Sept. 7 and was jointly witnessed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Naga said the renewed MOU “recognizes” the need to foster closer collaboration and cooperation in personal data protection and the unobstructed flow of data with the advancement of the global digital economy.

“Diplomatic relations like this Memorandum of Understanding are one of the tools to strengthen the Philippines and Singapore’s partnership, build mutual trust between our countries, and create greater opportunities in data privacy and protection,” he said.

Under the MOU, the Philippines and Singapore can exchange information and provide mutual assistance in potential or ongoing investigations in their respective jurisdictions in relation to a suspected data privacy and protection violation.

To enable “trusted cross-border data flows,” the MOU allows for mechanisms such as the promotion of applicable international certification systems, mutual recognition of comparable protection of both countries’ laws and frameworks, and the development, participation, promotion, and implementation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Cross Border Data Flow Mechanism.

The MOU also allows the NPC and PDPC to collaborate on knowledge sharing, training, and education on current and emerging privacy and data protection issue and trends.

The two government agencies may also explore or identify suitable participants in a cross-jurisdictional sandbox to test innovative data-sharing cases.

The MOU is among the areas of cooperation the two countries have agreed on during the state visit of Marcos to Singapore from Sept. 6 to 7.

It took effect on the date of the signing and will be in effect until either country chooses to terminate it, with both states allowed to monitor its implementation and conduct periodic reviews. (PNA)