Senator Win Gatchalian (File photo)

MANILA – Senator Win Gatchalian is seeking to reinstate the cut in the National Bureau of Investigation’s (NBI) 2023 budget to intensify the government’s cybercrime prevention efforts.

He expressed concern that the National Expenditure Program (NEP) trimmed down the 2023 budget of the NBI to PHP1.8 billion from 2022’s actual budget of PHP2.3 billion.

The cut includes the NBI’s budget for its anti-cybercrime enforcement unit to PHP21.2 million or a slash of almost 20 percent compared to this year’s PHP26.4 million.

Gatchalian said the reduction in the NBI’S budget could adversely affect its anti-cybercrime operations, especially at a time when illegal activities, such as identity theft, credit card fraud, and proliferation of spam and phishing messages, continue to rise.

He added that it is crucial to reinstate the cut in the budget of the agency while the Senate awaits the passage of the SIM Registration bill.

“Cybercrimes are flourishing in many territories including the Philippines. I would like to see that the NBI is fully equipped and has the necessary resources, especially in its fight against cybercrimes,” Gatchalian said.

“We will do our best to reinstate the amount that was cut in the budget proposal,” he stressed in support of the NBI’s anti-cybercrime efforts.

In addition to reinstating the amount cut from the NBI’s budget, Gatchalian said the imminent passage of the mandatory registration of SIMs is also expected to enable the NBI to effectively implement its anti-cybercrime campaign.

He emphasized that a substantial reduction in the number of cybercrimes in the country would help enhance the digital revolution in the country and underpin economic recovery.

“Kailangan nating magbigay ng nararapat na suporta sa NBI upang mapigilan at matunton ang mga kawatan na lalo pang nagiging sopistikado na ngayon. Kung nais nating paigtingin ng ahensiya ang pagpuksa sa cybercrimes, ibigay natin ang lahat ng nararapat na suporta dito (We need to give proper support to the NBI to prevent and trace the thieves who are becoming more and more sophisticated today. If we want the agency to intensify its fight against cybercrimes, let's give it all the necessary support,” Gatchalian said. (PR)