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MANILA, Philippines - Senator Edgardo Angara has renewed his call for President Benigno Aquino III to sign the Cybercrime Prevention Act to give more teeth to law enforcement agencies amid recent arrests of cybercriminals from Taiwan and China.
Joint operations between the Philippine National Police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) and the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission have caused the arrest of close to 400 foreign nationals said to have defrauded victims of as much as P20 million a day in cybercrimes.
“These operations have made it very clear that cybercrime does not have any place in the Philippines,” said Angara, chairman of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology. “We can only laud the resolute and single-minded efforts of the government.”
According to reports, the authorities were tipped off by their counterparts in mainland China and Taiwan, as many of the arrested foreigners were Taiwanese or Chinese nationals.
The suspects are slated to face charges for violating the Access Device Regulation Act of 1998 (RA 8484), but authorities said that they will most likely be deported back to their home countries.
Angara said, “It was fortunate that the illegal activities of the cybercriminals already fall under some of our existing laws. But there is a wide range of other cybercrimes - like hacking, identity theft, phishing, data interference and cyber prostitution - that has yet to be covered.
“We need to give our law enforcement agencies not just the authority but also the capacity to tackle this new problem. And we need to do so fast as cybercrimes grow more sophisticated and complex along with the evolution of technology,” he emphasized.
Angara is the main proponent of the Cybercrime Prevention Act which establishes a legal framework for the detection, investigation, apprehension, prosecution, and prevention of cybercrimes.
The measure designates responsibilities to select government entities in the PNP, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to combat cybercrimes.
The bill is awaiting the President's signature. Once enacted, P50 million from the national budget will be initially appropriated for the implementation of the act.
Angara was also the proponent of the Data Privacy Act, which was recently signed into law by the President.