The Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) on Friday inaugurated the Bohol Cyber Response Team office, the country’s first police unit established to counter internet crimes and pursue cyber criminals at the provincial level.
ACG chief of staff Col. Ricardo Layug, representing ACG director Brig. Gen. Dennis Agustin, and Bohol Provincial Police Office director Col. Jonathan Cabal led the ceremonies at the BPPO headquarters in Camp Francisco Dagohoy in Tagbilaran City.
The anti-cybercrime unit in Bohol is a pilot program initiated by Agustin who is a former BPPO director. While ACG units have regional offices across the country, the satellite office in Bohol is the first of its kind at the provincial level.
“The BPPO is very delighted of this program initiated by the chief of the ACG who is the former PD [provincial director] of Bohol Brig. Gen. Dennies Agustin…He made sure that Bohol will be the first province that will have a satellite office. That’s how much he loves the province as we all know,” said Cabal.
The Bohol anti-cybercrime group is manned by a five-man team led by its chief Lt. German Soroño. Other members of the team are cyber patrollers Pat. Junaliza Circo, Pat. Alrdin Gabaisen, Cpl. Van Harem Lingues and Pat. Maria Nalla.
According to Provincial Board Member Ricky Masamayor, who also joined the ceremonies, fund for unit’s the new office was previously allocated through then-first district representative Rene Relampagos, who is now acting governor.
Other officials including Dauis Mayor Miriam Sumaylo and Tagbilaran City Mayor Baba Yap also attended the event.
The establishment of the Bohol anti-cybercrime unit comes amid a surge in internet crimes across the country.
Data from the ACG indicated that it was investigating 3,935 cybercrimes of varied nature in 2018 up from 2,166 cases in 2017.
Most of the cases being investigated in 2018 were online libel at 1,041 cases.
Other cases investigated were online scam, anti photo and video voyeurism, computer-related identity theft, threat, system interference or hacking, unjust vexation, illegal access, robbery with intimidation and ATM or credit card fraud. (with R. Tutas)