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Sultan Kudarat province pioneers innovative cybersecurity training in Mindanao

ISULAN, Sultan Kudarat (PIA) -- The provincial government of Sultan Kudarat (SK) has pioneered an innovative cyber security program to effectively address and mitigate cyber threats in the province.

On July 30 this year, the provincial government inked a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with CybersCool Defcon, Inc., and the Sultan Kudarat State University (SKSU) to safeguard and strengthen a safe cyber space in the province for every individual in both public and private organizations.

Sultan Kudarat Governor Datu Pax Ali Mangudadatu thanks the officials of CybersCool Defcon Inc. for partnering with the provincial government of Sultan Kudarat during the signing of a memorandum of agreement on July 30 as he underscored the importance of cybersecurity, especially as the nation is now entering the era of artificial intelligence.

Governor Datu Pax Ali Mangudadatu described the initiative as the "first partnership for cooperation" in cyber security in Mindanao, believing that this would also help open employment opportunities for the residents in the area.

"As we launch and as we have the MOA signed with our partners, ito po ay magsisimula ng ibat-ibang programa [This will herald the start of various programs]. Ang napakaganda pong isipin dito [What’s nice to think about it], we are the first in Mindanao, and it is our objective that this will be a venue for us to provide employment opportunities to our constituents," the governor said.

He said that the province would also want to keep up with the rapid advancement of technology, but at the same time, ensure that his constituents, while adaptive to technological change, are provided the necessary protection from any cybercrimes and abuses.

Hence,, they have partnered with CybersCool Defcon, Inc., the first globally accredited Israeli-based cyber school in the Philippines, to enhance their knowledge and learn the safety nets to protect the province and its constituents from cyberattacks.

Philippines’ former Chief Justice Reynato Puno (middle), chairman of the board of CybersCool Defcon, poses with Sultan Kudarat Governor Datu Pax Ali Mangudadatu, Sultan Kudarat State University (SKSU) President Dr. Samson Molao, and other key officials of CybersCool Defcon, SKSU, and the provincial government after the signing of a memorandum of agreement on July 30 for the cybersecurity training in Sultan Kudarat. (Photo: Sultan Kudarat Provincial Government)

In the meantime, the cyber school institution will train at least 60 students and individuals as pioneering trainees under the scholarship of the provincial government while the program is still in its beginning stages.

"While we are beginning, it will be for most well-deserved and qualified students and trainees only. But we are planning na magiging [that this will be] available so that in the next few years, ito po ay magiging [this will become] regular program that is open to all," he said.

Mangudadatu said CybersCool Defcon, Inc., which was launched in the Philippines on July 20, 2022, is committed to educating, training, reskilling, and upskilling individuals and professionals of any organization to help them adopt some innovative ways of fighting cybercrimes.

The Sultan Kudarat State University, the provincial government of SK, and CybersCool will screen and take care of the selection of the qualified trainees.

Dubbed "Cybersecurity Bootcamp Zero to Hero Course," the training curriculum, which will last for three months, is expected to start in 2024. The training will be housed at Sultan Kudarat State University campus.

The student-trainees will be exposed to different types of laboratory-intensive upskilling with over a hundred simulations using actual virus and malware attacks.

After the training, the trainees are expected to become cyber analysts and experts who will take charge of extending help to banking, government institutions, the military, and the police, as well as the private sector, in combating cyber threats.

Tatoo Amsili, director of CybersCool Defcon Inc., expresses his appreciation and well-wishes to his partners and stakeholders from the province of Sultan Kudarat during the signing of the memorandum of agreement on July 30 for the cybersecurity training, which will be housed at the Sultan Kudarat State University. (Photo: Sultan Kudarat Provincial Government)

CybersCool Defcon, Inc., founded by Edison Abella and Tatoo Amsili, offers six training programs, including the "Zero to Hero'' Cybersecurity Bootcamp.

"One of the keys today is to actually build a system to provide more knowledge when it comes to cybersecurity and build cyber analysts, and as mentioned, it’s not just a problem inside the Philippines but it’s all over the world," said Tatoo Amsili, director of CybersCool Defcon Inc., during the MOA signing at the Provincial Capitol Building in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat.

He explained that when there are cyberattacks like hacking of government websites or scams, it automatically turns into a national problem because it affects all people. That’s why he said it is imperative to secure oneself, the data, the transaction, and all those important applications.

Amsili pointed out that digitalization "is really not a secret anymore," as he opined that this is the direction for the Philippines to improve, to grow, and to really be able to connect to other nations while improving the quality of life of the Filipino people.

The Tel Aviv-based ThriveDX Saas, a business founded by Roy Zur, who used to lead the creation and training of elite Israeli Cyber and Intelligence Units, is the source of the modules used in the programs provided by the CybersCool Defcon.

Reynato Puno, the country’s former chief justice, serves as the organization's chairman of the board.

Mangudadatu is confident that the initiative will not only safeguard the critical data of various public and private offices in the province but also set an inspiring example for other local government units to be beacons of resilience and protection from any harm resulting from cyber threats posed by today’s fast-paced technology. (AMB – PIA Region 12)

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Catherine Apelacio

Information Officer III

Region 12

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