Manila, Philippines – Besting other government agencies, the Department of Health (DOH) bagged the top award for the Outstanding Personal Information Controller of 2021 Public Sector category during the first Privacy Awareness Week (PAW) 2021 Awards by the National Privacy Commission (NPC) on May 28.

The inaugural PAW Awards recognized individuals and institutions that demonstrated excellent privacy practices. They made exceptional contributions to data privacy and the cultivation of data privacy culture in different sectors.

Privacy Commissioner Raymund E. Liboro awarded the DOH the Outstanding Personal Information Controller of 2021 Public Sector category, which honors government offices that employ a customer-centric approach in delivering services while exemplifying qualities of visibility and transparency in all platforms.

During the panel discussion on “Upholding Data Privacy Rights in the Pandemic Response: a Whole-of-Nation Approach,” DOH-designated Data Protection Officer, Dr. Enrique A. Tayag highlighted the Department’s key data privacy practices. This report includes adopting a privacy-by-design approach from policy and strategy to implementation to monitoring and evaluation in its health business operations. He also reported that the DOH subject all in-house developed and donated health ICT services and applications to its agency’s privacy requirements prior to deployment. Institutionalizing privacy-compliant data access mechanisms and regular issuance of health ICT and data privacy policies to strengthen COVID-19 response and Universal Health Care (UHC) implementation were also discussed. DOH has also anticipated data privacy concerns from these digital health interventions are in place so there will be no room for confusion, disagreements, or misunderstanding.

The DOH has always been guided by the three (3) data privacy principles of legitimate purpose, transparency, and proportionality, and an added principle on accountability in the processing of health and health-related data at all organizational levels as provided by its agency mandate, the UHC Act, the Data Privacy Act of 2012, and other relevant laws and regulations.

“Trust is always earned in public service and there are no shortcuts on how to earn it. When collecting personal data, it is paramount to design systems that protect individuals from harm while at the same time ensuring data standards are complied with as not to compromise data privacy,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said during the awarding ceremony.