Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Senators eye DOJ budget increase to fight cybercrime, use tech vs. human trafficking

Senators Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito and Nancy Binay are pushing more funds to augment the capacity of the Department of Justice (DOJ)’s capacity to prosecute cybercriminals and use technology to fight human trafficking.

As the Senate deliberated the DOJ’s proposed 2024 budget of P34.486-billion during a hearing on Monday, Oct. 9, Ejercito noted that the agency’s Office of Cybercrime was allocated a “meager” P475,000 in intelligence funds despite the prevalence of online scams, hacking and other Internet-aided criminal activities.

He also supported increasing the National Bureau of Investigation’s P175-million intelligence fund for next year.

“I guess, these are the agencies that we really have to put confidential and intelligence funds [into], because this is a new enemy that we are facing right now,” Ejercito said.

Binay, meanwhile, wants to utilize technology to address the problem of human trafficking and the long queue at the airport’s Bureau of Immigration (BI) inspection area.

Binay said the use of technology will resolve the problem of the immigration bureau against human trafficking and at the same the agency will able to protect the rights of Filipinos to travel without a delay.

“I also understand that it is very difficult to balance the need to prevent human trafficking and the need to respect the rights to travel of our countrymen… but more than that, maybe the use of technology to background check or a software to trace if a person is in the criteria of not going on vacation,” Binay said.

“Do we have that capability?” the senator asked. In response, DOJ secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said they are now in the process of using new advance technology and the establishment of Electronic Gate (E-Gate) in all international airports in the country.

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