The Cybercrime Investigation Coordinating Center (CICC) and CitizenWatch Philippines signed a memorandum of agreement on Friday to combat consumer fraud, which often affects poor consumers.
The agreement aims to empower consumers through cybersecurity training and campaigns, as well as to strengthen the partnership between the government and the advocacy group.
CICC Executive Director Alexander K. Ramos said consumer fraud is one of the top priorities of the agency, as it has increased by 186% in Metro Manila in the first half of 2023 compared to the same period last year.
He said the CICC received 364 complaints of online fraud during that period, accounting for 40% of the total 904 cybercrime complaints.
Retired Supreme Court Justice Andres Reyes, a CICC highly-technical consultant, said consumer fraud will also be one of the four major areas to be included in the proposed National Cyber Security Plan.
“It will be one of the first four policies at the top of the agenda of the cyber security plan of the Philippines because it affects not only the consumer but the poor consumer,” he said.
CitizenWatch Philippines Lead Convenor Orlando Oxales said accessing the internet has become an indispensable utility for daily transactions and interactions, especially with the digital transformation of the government and private sectors.
“CitizenWatch Philippines is one with the Cybercrime Investigation Coordinating Center’s (CICC) campaign to safeguard our digital environment. It is with honor and great enthusiasm that CitizenWatch Philippines is partnering with the CICC to fight the rising cybercrime incidents victimizing the country’s consumers,” he said.