MANILA, Philippines — Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benhur Abalos Jr. on Monday said that the agency is willing to provide new equipment and technical personnel to the anti-cybercrime division of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Abalos made the pledge during the flag ceremony of the PNP as he noted the increase in cybercrime cases in the country.
“I was reading the news, cybercrime is on the rise,” Abalos said, noting that the usage of computers may have increased due to the pandemic.
“Bagong phenomena ito sa atin, kaya please, just inform me anong equipment ang kailangan ninyo, kung kinakailangan mag-seminar o mag-aral pa, o kailangan kumuha ng technical people sa cybercrime, please inform us the soonest,” Abalos added.
(This is a new phenomenon to us, so please inform me what equipment you need, or if you need seminars to learn more, and if you need to recruit more technical people, please inform us soon.)
Abalos, meanwhile, reminded the PNP to bolster its information dissemination to the public to avoid being a victim of cybercrimes.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of cyber tips received by the Department of Justice – Office of Cybercrime tripled to 1.2 million in 2020 from just 400,000 the previous year, with fraud, sexual abuse and exploitation, bullying, and identity theft being the most common complaints.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, however, the country already saw a rise in cybercrime cases as the PNP recorded only 42 cases of online scam in 2013, which soared to 550 in June 2019.
The Bankers Association of the Philippines estimated that over P1 billion were lost to criminal groups through unauthorized bank withdrawals in 2021 alone.
A Unicef report said the Philippines is the center of child sex abuse materials production in the world with 80 percent of Filipino children vulnerable to being victims of online sexual abuse and exploitation.
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