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President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has ordered the strengthening of the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) cybersecurity systems, according to a report by Philippine News Agency.

Marcos, in a sectoral meeting with key PNP officials at Malacañan Palace in Manila on Tuesday morning, emphasized the importance of training among police personnel and investment in technology to address cybercrime and cybersecurity, Malacañang Press Briefer Daphne Oseña-Paez told Palace reporters.

“President Marcos stressed the need to centralize and standardize all communications systems and platforms across the PNP as well,” Oseña-Paez said.

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Marcos gave the directive, after PNP chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. reported that despite the 10-percent decline in the crime rate from July 2022 to Jan. 2024, cybercrime remains a cause for concern.

Acorda, who joined the Palace press briefing, said there is a need to focus the attention on cybercrime since there is an increase in cases in the last quarter of 2023.

He noted that topping the list of cybercrimes reported in the country was swindling, with 15,000 cases, followed by illegal access (4,000 cases), and identity theft, online libel, and credit card fraud (2,000 cases each).

He said the cases were “mostly localized,” while some of the cybercrimes were committed “outside the country.”

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“And in line with that, as instructed by our President, we are intensifying, we are capacitating our police officers on the ground especially [since] previously, ang ating (our) cybercrime group is only up to the regional level lang (only),” Acorda said.

“But this time, we are training our personnel and our objective is that down to the police station level or municipal level, we will have police officers who are trained to handle cybercrime or online crimes,” he added.

Acorda admitted that the PNP is having a hard time identifying the perpetrators because they are using “fictitious” accounts.

He said the funds that will be used for the training of PNP personnel and information technology projects have already been included in the 2024 General Appropriations Act.

“We intend to really complete this cycling of training na ginagawa natin (that we are conducting) down to the police station this year,” Acorda said, adding that the country needs to catch up with the “very fast evolving” technology.

Acorda said the PNP will also pursue a project establishing a cybersecurity center to address the hacking of websites of the agency, as well as other government offices.

Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. said he will also sign a document next week or within a month for the creation of a National Cybercrime Training Institute and its Board of Trustees.

Abalos said the training institute will be under the Philippine Public Safety College, which is supervised by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

The training center, he said, will be established, considering that cybercrime is “very technical” and a “very special field.”

Based on a statement posted on the official Facebook page of state-run Radio Television Malacañang, the PNP also presented to Marcos “a forward-looking” Capability Enhancement Program for 2024 and 2025, focusing on upgrades in mobility, firepower, communication equipment, and internal security operations (ISO) equipment.

“This initiative aims to modernize the PNP, ensuring its preparedness to tackle evolving challenges and uphold public safety across the nation,” the statement read.


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