WITH the growing threat of cybercrime in the country, including Negros Occidental, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is looking to equip law enforcers in investigating online criminal activities.

DICT Assistant Secretary Allan Cabanlong, who heads the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC), said his unit can help law enforcers in the technical investigation of the increasing cybercrime cases.

Cabanlong, who was in Bacolod City Friday, May 26, for various engagements, however, said their agency still has no funds as it was created only recently and they are still forming their organizational structure.

Once their structure will be approved by the national government in July, they can already start recruiting personnel then train law enforcers on cybercrime investigation by September, he said.

Cabanlong, who used to be a policeman, said the CICC is “mandated to do capacity building and to support law enforcers in combating cybercrime.”

He said the CICC can also aid law enforcers in technical investigation, including network forensics and digital analytics.

Cabanlong added that the Philippine National Police (PNP) should make its Anti-Cybercrime Group, which is based in the national headquarters, “capable enough” to investigate cybercrimes.

Although they already have training, they need to continuously improve, he added.

While Cabanlong recognized that the local police force have no training on cybercrime investigation, he said it should be the national command that will capacitate them.

Senior Superintendent Jack Wanky, officer-in-charge of Bacolod City Police Office, had been pushing for an establishment of a cybercrime unit in the Police Regional Office-Negros Island Region.

This came after two successive cybercrime cases were uncovered by the authorities in the city.

On May 5, four female minors were rescued from cybersex operations with three women who were arrested in two barangays in Bacolod City.

In the first operation, the mother of the three victims was caught offering one of her daughters to a live sex show to an online predator from Australia while the second operation led to the rescue of a girl whose mother exposed her to a customer in the United States.

A week after that, an American sexagenarian was arrested on May 12 after he allegedly uploaded sex videos of him and his multiple partners on the internet.

Wanky said the series of incidents in the city only showed that cybercrime exists.

“Maybe it’s not alarming compared to other localities, but the mere fact that it exists, we have to give it a solution,” he added.

Cabanlong said it is the mandate of the law enforcers to stop the parents from “luring their children in this madness.”

He said the concern of DICT is the technology applied in committing the crime.

“This is a hybrid dynamic crime, with use of physical and virtual means,” he said.

Moreover, Cabanlong said it’s imperative to equip law enforcers on technical investigation so the case will run smoothly when presented in court.

Monitoring

Cabanlong said the Inter-Agency Council against Child Pornography led by the Department of Social Welfare and Development oversees cybercrime cases like child pornography, based on walk-in and monitored reports.

To block a website exposing minors, the council, which is also composed of DICT, PNP and the Department of Justice, will recommend to the National Telecommunications Commission to take down the particular site URL (uniform resource locator), not the whole website.

Cabanlong said that monitoring cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime is quite a challenge due to its vast scope.

“That’s why we are beefing up our technical capabilities,” he added.