State-run Credit Information Corp. (CIC) is seeking P35 million from the national budget next year to upgrade database security, which currently contains credit data on 18.2 million borrowers.

CIC also asked for a P65 million budget to acquire software licenses.

The database needs upgraded security because “the credit data submitted to us contain highly sensitive personal information,” CIC President and CEO Aileen L. Amor-Bautista said in a statement Friday.

Republic Act No. 9510 or the Credit Information System Act (CISA) authorizes the CIC to set up a comprehensive and centralized credit information system that collects and distributes credit-related information.

CIC requires financial institutions to submit credit data online and allows access to them at all times.

Its officials expect more small lenders to submit credit data online after the CIC rolled out its Primary ID Number Tagging System, which addresses issues that emerged at cooperatives and microfinance institutions, who deal with borrowers with no access to government-issued IDs.

Around 519 lenders have started submitting basic credit datas, the CIC said.

On Aug. 19, it said 15 new institutions joined, mainly cooperatives, lending companies, and rural banks.

CIC deems cyber security to be a critical issue as more people transact online due to the coronavirus disease 2019 restrictions.

“As our database expands, the need to tighten the security of our system becomes all the more imperative, especially these days when potential cyber-attacks threaten businesses and organizations with the implementation of remote work amid the pandemic,” Ms. Amor-Bautista said.

The P4.506-trillion national budget proposal for next year is 9.9% larger than the 2020 spending plan and is equivalent to 21.8% of gross domestic product, the Department of Budget and Management said.

For next year, President Rodrigo R. Duterte said the government has allotted P1.2 billion to cybersecurity.

Internet security firm Kaspersky reported 3.906 million cyber threats among its users in the Philippines in the fourth quarter of 2019, before the pandemic. This put the Philippine users in seventh place among those most likely to experience cyberattacks.

The number of new malicious files the firm collects daily rose to 400,000 during the coronavirus pandemic, its chief executive officer Eugene Kaspersky said at the Asia Pacific Online Policy Forum last month. — Kathryn Kristina T. Jose