Last August 7, 2020, SecurityMatters Magazine (SMM), the Philippine Women in Cyber Alliance (PCWA), and the Women in Security and Resilience Alliance (WISECRA) honored this year’s awardees of the Top Women in Security Philippines. As part of our efforts to drive awareness of the award and its role in women empowerment, we will be publishing a series of short features on the trailblazing women who made it to the list.
To all cyber women out there, you are all cyber heroes! We are here to motivate any woman who wants to trek this path less traveled and give you faith that Yes! You can do it!LCol Francel Margareth P Taborlupa (SC) PA
Information Systems Officer
National Task Force Against Covid-19
NIC – Emergency Operations Center
Armed Forces of the Philippines
LCol. Taborlupa has been in the security field for 24 years, all of them spent in the uniformed service under the Armed Forces of the Philippines. She has a Master in Information Management degree from the University of the Philippines (UP) and a Master in Public Management major in Development and Security from the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) where she graduated at the top of her class and received the gold medal for her action plan.
Immediately after graduating from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) she was commissioned as an active officer in the Signal Corps of the Philippine Army before joining the Presidential Security Group (PSG) as aide-de-camp to the President. She also served as security and communication officer during various official functions in the country of visiting heads of states and other dignitaries.
Challenges along the way
As a woman in tech and in the military, the biggest challenges that I have had to overcome throughout my career is, in one way or another, attributed to gender issues. At the onset, working in a domain traditionally seen as male-dominated, entails that I must perform at par or even better than my male counterparts.
I joined the military through the PMA as one of the pioneers in the inclusion of women in that institution. I was part of the 4th batch of females that the Academy has ever accepted, and thus, we were the test cases in the evolution of gender parity in the military. I would soon learn that the same can be said during the advancement in my military career after I graduated.
Firstly, in joining the Signal Corps and specializing in Information Systems, I found myself once again in a more delimited male-dominated arena in the technology field. The same was true when I served in the Presidential Security Group as a VIP Protector.
Through all these endeavors, my mindset has always been to continually challenge myself and strive to excel. I can proudly say that I worked extremely hard and in more than a few occasions, excelled and have been recognized in these undertakings.
The security industry today
I think the biggest challenge in the security industry is how to be on the lookout considering that there are multiple domains that need to be secured.
In the military, other than the security of land, air and sea, cyber was recently recognized as one of the domains of security operations. Security tends to be an extremely broad term, which is all encompassing- ranging from physical to digital. With technology ever evolving, keeping up and avoiding obsolescence is a challenge.
Moreover, as we have confirmed, rather swiftly, in this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, tech plays a very crucial role in battling the disease.
As dependence on tech grows and the demand for information and technological infrastructure substantially increases, the opportunity for fraud and cyber-attacks exponentially increases as well. This is where the security industry will need to step up its game and stay in front of these threats, whether they are in the physical, or cyber domain. The alternative of not being prepared to counter these threats will have far more catastrophic implications to our society.
Advantages and disadvantages of being a woman in security
The security industry is one arena where common misconceptions abound on the superiority of men over women. On the contrary, I believe that women possess an advantage in this realm. I, among countless other women who are now leading in this space, stand to disprove this fallacy, and show that we too, can, not only take on the tasks at hand, but excel in doing so as well.
On being recognized as one of the top women in security in the Philippines
I know that a lot of women are out there silently working and are equally deserving of such an award. I am fortunate to have colleagues who have gone out of their way to recommend me for the recognition of our efforts.
I am both humbled and elated that my life’s work has been acknowledged. I believe that whatever I have accomplished is a collective effort with my troops in every unit that I have served in, fueled by passion and dedication to duty in every undertaking coupled by the unrelenting quest for the enhancement of knowledge in my field of expertise.
Secret to success
It is no secret really. Just about everyone who works with me knows how I deal with people. I strive to empower others. Delegation is key to let others feel valued and depended upon. Thus, they perform better bringing overall success for the unit.
In order to inspire others, you must believe in your capacity to achieve great things, foremost. I live by the words of Desiderata as my daily dose of guidance.
Due to the pandemic, all hands-on deck at the National Task Force (NTF) is our daily battle rhythm. Thus, until such time that the unit is dissolved, we would always be on the go at the NTF, supporting the Chief Implementer of the National Action Plan against Covid-19.
On the other hand, I am always open to share my knowledge and experience to all who would have me. And so, in the coming days I have a few speaking engagements in tow. The most forthcoming is on Oct. 1st, as I am set to speak on Seamless Philippines 2020.
Message to future women in security
Security remains as a critical component, pandemic or not.
To all cyber women out there, you are all cyber heroes! We are here to motivate any woman who wants to trek this path less traveled and give you faith that Yes! You can do it! You can be a “Cyber Diva” like all the other women in technology. Security could very well also be another Comfort Zone for us, women.