PLDT, Inc. and its wireless arm Smart Communications, Inc. on Tuesday said they had invested nearly P2 billion this year to run a cybersecurity operations center, where they detect and respond to illegal online activities, including child pornography.

“This is where we predict, prevent, detect, and respond to all types of cyber threats including those related to OSAEC (online sexual abuse and exploitation of children),” said Angel T. Redoble, PLDT group’s first vice president and chief information security officer, in an e-mailed statement.

He added that the cybersecurity center is also where the group identifies phishing and scamming activities. “Now, this includes notifying our enterprise subscribers of attacks and high-risk activities inside their network.”

The two companies said they had blocked more than 3,000 domains that host illicit materials involving minors. 

On Jan. 18, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said it had issued show-cause orders against internet service providers for their failure to stop access to sites hosting pornographic content featuring children.

It said the entities were required to explain in writing “why they should not be administratively sanctioned for such violation.”

Currently, there are more than 500 internet service providers in the country.

Globe Telecom, Inc. said on Jan. 14 that it blocked “2,521 sites that have been identified by law enforcement agencies, endorsed by the NTC for blocking, or identified through our own Security Operations Center intelligence.”

Globe said it invested $2.7 million in a content-filtering system “to support its ‘PlayItRight’ advocacy program, targeting illegal/pirated content and online child pornography.”

President Rodrigo R. Duterte had ordered the NTC to direct internet service providers to immediately install available technology or software that would block online sites engaged in child exploitation.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Arjay L. Balinbin