Inter-agency body CICC inaugurates cybercrime laboratory vs. child abuse

The Philippine government is ramping up its fight against cybercrimes as inter-agency body Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC) opens its Digital Forensics Platform and Laboratory (DFPAL). The new cybercrime laboratory, located within the CICC headquarters in Quezon City, will initially focus on Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (OSAEC) but will still look at other forms of cybercrimes nationwide.

According to data from US-based National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), reported OSAEC cases in the Philippines jumped 265% to 202,605 from March to May 2020, the period covered by the initial imposition of enhanced community quarantine due to Covid-19. That figure is compared to 76,561 reported cases in the same period in 2019.

During the new facility’s inauguration on June 17, 2022, CICC Executive Director Cezar O. Mancao II revealed that DFPAL will further empower CICC in conducting thorough digital and forensic probes through more stringent monitoring and coordination with other law enforcement agencies. He also emphasized that it will help in prosecuting more cybercriminals across the country.

“The CICC’s DFPAL was established and operationalized to conduct relentless, coordinated efforts to prevent, disrupt, and possibly stop if not mitigate the issues of OSAEC through the collaborative partnership of local and international stakeholders towards providing a cybersafe environment for children,” said Mancao.

“OSAEC is a tragic and growing problem in the Philippines, but it does not need to be a permanent one. We will do everything that we can to protect Filipino children. We have to act now and fight against these monster predators. We need to help each other to protect our netizens,” he reiterated.

 

Important facility against cybercrimes

“We have acquired a powerful state-of-the-art technology, which will improve the success rates of investigators and policing operations in the ongoing pursuit to identify, apprehend, and convict individuals and networks associated with online child sexual exploitation,” he added.

To complement its sophisticated facilities, the newly inaugurated cybercrime laboratory will be operated by trained and certified professionals coming from different fields, including information and communications technology, digital forensics, psychology, data analytics, research, and communications.

CICC Executive Director Cezar O. Mancao II

CICC’s mandate

CICC is an inter-agency body established through Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. Its main goal is to coordinate policies among concerned agencies. In 2016, it became an attached agency of the then newly formed Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), which in turn is tasked to lead the government’s efforts to fight cybercriminals, especially those attaching children, who are considered the most vulnerable segment in the society.

Prior to the opening of DFPAL, CICC has launched several child-protection programs like the Child Online Safeguarding Policy (COSP), Cyber Patrol Program, Batang Barangay Capability Program, and the Cyber Conflict Program. It is also part of the Inter-Agency Council Against Child Pornography (IACACP) and the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT).

 

To report any cybercrime against children, you can reach CICC through the helplines—0966 6524885 or 0920 6260217. You may also send an email to report@cicc.gov.ph.

CICC’s institutional partners can also be accessed through these details: NBI Cybercrime Division—(877) 624-7707 or nbi.gov.ph; PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group—0998 5988116 or acg.pnp.gov.ph; and DOJ Office of Cybercrime—02 5238482.