Pres. Benigno Aquino has issued Administrative Order (AO) 39 establishing the Government Web Hosting Service (GWHS), which will host government-owned websites and serve as a central fort against online attacks.
The AO, which was first reported by online news site Interaksyon.com, came into effect after being signed by Aquino on Friday, July 12. The GWHS was ordered to start operations sixty days from the AO?s effectivity.
The issuance of the directive was triggered by previous cyber attacks ? first by Chinese hackers at the height of the territorial dispute between the Philippines and China over the Scarborough shoal in the West Philippine Sea, and then by Malaysian hackers over the Sabah issue.
Under the AO, the GWHS will be maintained by the Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO) of the Department of Science and Technology.
Hosting under the GWHS will be mandatory for all National Government Agencies (NGAs), Government Financial Institutions (GFIs) and Government-Owned or -Controlled Corporations (GOCCs), including websites of inter-agency collaborations, programs, and projects.
However, Constitutional bodies, LGUs, and other autonomous branches of the government have the option to host their sites elsewhere although they are also encouraged to use the GWHS.
Under the AO, a new entity called the National Digital Service Coordinating Group (NDSCG) will be tasked with the issuance of the Philippine Uniform Website Content Policy (UWCP) in order that government websites will have the same ?look and feel?.
According to ICTO executive director Louis Casambre, a separate EO (Executive Order) is also being readied that will lay the basis for the creation of the NDSCG.
Casambre said the NDSCG will be led by the ICTO, the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO), and the Department of Budget and Management.
The PCDSPO, headed by Secretary Ricky Carandang, will administer the implementation of the UWCP under the control of the NDSCG.
Also provided under the AO is an item that mandates all NGAs, GFIs, GOCCs, and inter-agency collaborations, programs, and projects to completely migrate their websites to the GWHS within one year.
In case the agencies have existing contracts with private Web hosting providers, they are still required to make the move although the contracts will still be honored.
?Current web hosting contracts of government agencies shall not be renewed and all covered agencies must refrain from entering into any new web hosting contracts upon the effectivity of this AO,? it said.
Websites that have been defaced or rendered inaccessible by unauthorized parties within the last six months will be given priority hosting under the GWHS, the AO indicated.
In section 5, the AO also ordered the DOST-ICTO to establish a Government Internet Protocol (IP) Exchange (G/IPX) facility where government agencies can exchange data traffic.
The DOST-ICTO is permitted under the AO to charge fees from the government agencies for the use of the facility on a cost recovery basis to fund its expenses.
The DOST-ICTO, however, was authorized to set aside a ?Website Migration Fund? to be sourced from the e-Gov Fund to finance the establishment of the facility.