California-based technology giant Facebook must build data centers in the Philippines given its large volume of users in the country, according to a government official.

The suggestion came from Assistant Secretary Allan Cabanlong of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) after the leading social media platform last week admitted to breaches in securing data of its users, leaking personal information on millions of users worldwide.

The breaches showed that British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica “improperly shared” the data of 87 million Facebook users, 1.2 million of whom were Filipinos.

Cabanlong, who is in charge of cyber security and enabling technologies, said the DICT, together with the National Privacy Commission, is studying the possibility for Facebook to put up data centers in the Philippines.

“Facebook provided data centers in Ireland ... Maybe we can imitate that and have Facebook’s facilities here,” he mentioned to The Manila Times in a phone interview over the weekend.

Facebook has invested around €200 million to establish its second European data center in Clonee, Ireland.

“[Data centers are needed in the Philippines so the users’ data can be protected],” Cabanlong said.

He added that the government and Facebook can study and talk about the proposal.

Meanwhile, Cabanlong said raising awareness on potential threats from cyber space is vital to protect Filipinos.

Aside from the department’s National Cybersecurity Plan 2022, the DICT has started to conduct Cybersecurity Caravans across the country.

“[We need to monitor what Filipinos are posting],” Cabanlong said.