PH upgrades prosecutors’ skills vs. cybercrime

MANILA The Philippine government, through the Department of Justice (DOJ), has committed to upgrade the capability of its prosecutors to fight cybercrime as it thanked the Council of Europe for extending its Global Action on Cybercrime (GLACY) program to the country.

During the Training of Trainers Course on Cybercrime and Electronic Evidence for Judges, Magistrates and Prosecutors of the ASEAN Region, which opened on March 20 in Manila, DOJ Undersecretary Erickson Balmes said that no country has a monopoly on addressing cybercrime.

With the Council of Europe's GLACY project, Balmes said DOJ will remain steadfast in upgrading the skills of prosecutors in the country to fight this new breed of crime.

Manuel Almeida Pereira, the Global Action on Cybercrime + or GLACY+ (Project Manager, Council of Europe), said that the Council has made a series of training for highprofile people against cybercrime to enable them to spread their knowledge to the region.

The European Union (EU) has worked together with the Council of Europe, an organization of 47 member states, to fight cybercrime, not only within its member states but also beyond because cybercrime knows no borders.

It started its efforts to engage with countries globally in international cybercrime cooperation.

Started with a budget of 3.35 million euros, GLACY is a concrete output of this initiative to support seven priority countries, among them the Philippines, to prepare for accession to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime.

It was expanded in 2016 with the Global Action on Cybercrime Extended (GLACY+) with a 12million euros budget from the European Commission and another 1.3 million euros from the Council of Europe.

Given the Philippine commitment and its rich experience in the fight against cybercrime, EU Ambassador Franz Jessen said the country functions as a hub within project GLACY+.

During the event, he underscored the need for international cooperation and dialogue to address pressing issues in the era such as cybercrime.

"Cybercrime knows no borders, to fight it we need international cooperation," Jessen said. "We need international agreements. We need dialogues so that we find ways to learn from each other especially as we have a shared objective in this fight against cybercrime."

The Philippines has made efforts in joining the Budapest Convention during the past years, culminating with the passing of the Accession Instrument by the Senate in February this year.

As soon as the Philippine Instrument of Accession is deposited at the Council of Europe, Jessen said the Philippines will be the 57th party to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime.

The envoy said that the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime is one of the tools to address online child sexual exploitation and abuse.

The convention provides the framework for harmonized, common definitions in criminalizing cybercrime offenses, as well as necessary procedural measures that will provide law enforcement to investigate cybercrime.

"Having common legal and procedural standards is the foundation of international judicial cooperation, but the convention further facilitates this by providing mechanisms for rapid and reliable international cooperation," he said.

These include the expedited preservation of computer data and the network of 24/7 points of contact with designated central authorities in each member party to the convention.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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