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New App to Help Philippine Police with Crime Reporting

The Philippines National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) improved its digital transformation service with the S.A.F.E NCRPO APP Alert. The app was released to promote a more effective and quick procedure for reporting crime.

According to NCRPO chief Maj. Gen. Jonnel Estomo, the smartphone application can be used with a finger touch to promptly convey an alert to the nearest police officers patrolling in their area of authority. The app is linked to an alert server monitored by NCRPO’s Tactical Operation Centres (TOCs). The app will send alerts transmitted via a short messaging system (SMS) if no mobile network coverage is detected.

At the same ceremony, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. stated that the app’s usage would assist the NCRPO in enhancing its response, especially given that the criminals have also embraced technology.

“With this app, if there is a crime to be reported immediately in Metro Manila, there will be a reaction within three minutes. I hope the moment comes when we can truly expand this, and I urge that it be done not just in Metro Manila but throughout the Philippines so that the influence is felt right down to the very last root,” he remarked.

According to Lt. Col. Mark Foncardas, NCRPO App Alert project manager, all barangay halls in Metro Manila have been activated and registered as part of the project’s initial phase. Meanwhile, the second phase of the proposal will include schools, hospitals, religious organisations, and entertainment venues.

The Eastern and Quezon City Police Districts also conducted a real-time simulation exercise to demonstrate the app’s efficacy and efficiency. “Now we get to the final phase for individual residences. After that, we can make it available for download in the last phase. This is critical for avoiding pranks or fraudulent notifications,” Foncardas noted.

Furthermore, the NCRPO S.A.F.E. Programme will provide a dedicated police alert hotline for all churches, mosques, and other similar institutions, as well as barangay halls within Metro Manila, for immediate police assistance for the protection of the religious sector and the general community via the barangays.

Estomo stated that the project aligns with the PNP’s KASIMBAYANAN programmes. Meanwhile, Abalos says he will explore the system’s use with the other PNP regional directors to decide its best aspects, such as connecting the apps to the 911 system (emergency hotline).

Furthermore, the PNP also supports the government’s SIM registration programme to combat cybercrime, as many Filipinos have become victims of text scams and data breaches daily. Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. believes the law will enable the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement agencies to respond promptly to complaints and cases concerning mobile fraud. The Act makes it simpler for the PNP to track down and prosecute offenders who use communications equipment.

Similar online criminal issues have emerged in Thailand. Illicit cross-border internet use, ghost SIM fixation, and the suppression of bogus accounts have become major issues in the country. Chaiwut Thanakmanusorn, Minister of Digital Economy and Society (DES), recently assessed the success of the country’s efforts to combat cybercrime.

To address the issue of ghost SIMs, the NBTC has demanded that about 8,000 customers with more than 100 SIM cards confirm their identity by January 23. Furthermore, the NBTC has asked telecom service providers to investigate the use of cross-border internet services in the case of criminal cross-border internet trafficking. While the AMLO Office has issued an alert to resolve fraudulent accounts and suspected accounts used for illegal conduct. The notice warns when a criterion for determining or modifying the list of high-risk individuals emerges.

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