NBI warns against proliferation of cybercrimes amid ECQ

Marje Pelayo   •   April 17, 2020   •   1205

MANILA, Philippines – Scammers are increasingly active these days especially with everyone practically living in cyberspace due to lockdowns in different parts of the world.

In the Philippines, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has warned the public of the rise in cybercrime as the national government’s enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) limits movement outside of residence.

With almost all services migrating online, scammers are taking advantage of online platforms to pursue their schemes.

Such is the problem of Jodel Merjudio who operates an online travel agency.

Merjudio reported to UNTV’s Serbisyong Bayanihan that some scammers created an impostor account of his enterprise’s Facebook page.

It only came to his knowledge when one of his clients told him about an alleged representative of his travel agency who transacted and asked money from that client on his behalf.

Part of the scammer’s modus operandi is to block the clueless victims from its fake page once payment is received.

The victims are then led to Merjudio’s official page to follow up on transactions that the latter had no knowledge of.

“Ang nangyayari, iyong kliyente pag nag-search sila sa Facebook, dalawa ang lalabas na agency. So kami ang nako-contact nila kasi naka-block na sila doon sa scammer page,” Merjudio said.

Jodel said he initially reported the incident to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Region 4A Cybercrime Division.

To assist Jodel, Kuya Daniel Razon contacted Atty.Victor Lorenzo of the NBI’s Cybercrime Division who agreed with Jodel’s initial move of reporting the incident to proper authorities.

The official promised to help Jodel in identifying the perpetrators behind the impostor account and to eventually resolve the case.

“Kunin nila ang mga contact details [ng kliyente] at kung makipag-ugnayan sila sa amin ay iyon kasi ang hihingiin namin (Get the contact details [of the client] so when you come to us, those are the details that we would be asking],” Lorenzo said.

Kokontakin namin sila para malaman kung ano ba ang mode of payment? Paano ang money ay transmitted? Bank to bank? Kasi ang best lead natin kung sino ang nag-create ng fake account ng travel agency (We will ask them what the mode of payment was; how the money was transmitted; and was it bank to bank? Our best lead would be the creator of the travel agency’s fake account),” he added.

Atty. Lorenzo said incidents of online travel agency scams have already dwindled for some time but since the country is under lockdown, scammers have again started to become active online. MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

NBI tapped to probe cohorts of alleged fixer nabbed in BI premises

Robie de Guzman   •   February 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has ordered an investigation into the possible cohorts of an alleged fixer who was recently arrested within the bureau’s premises.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said he has sought the assistance of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to probe as well the three Chinese nationals involved in the incident for the initiation of their deportation proceedings if they have committed immigration violations.

“We are coordinating with the NBI in this investigation to see if there are any cohorts inside the Bureau, and to strengthen protocols to prevent illegal fixers from extorting aliens,” Morente said in a statement on Sunday.

The move follows the arrest last Thursday of a law firm employee, identified as Vivan Lara, at the BI’s main office for alleged extortion of three Chinese nationals.

Lara was reportedly an employee of a law office accredited to transact with the bureau. But documents show that her personal accreditation already expired in January and that she is no longer authorized to transact with the BI.

Local media reports stated that Lara was arrested after allegedly receiving P900,000 marked money to process the passports and visas of the three Chinese nationals.

Morente said the arrested individual has been ordered barred from entering and transacting in any BI office, adding that a fact-finding committee has been created to look into the incident.

“We are also investigating the breach of security protocols inside the BI building, as she was able to enter despite her ID expiring last month, as well as use an office for her transaction,” he said.

“We had our men scan CCTV footage to look into possible accomplices of Lara, as well as ensure that the BI grounds are rid of fixers,” he added.

Morente also said that the accreditation of the Calalang Law Office, Lara’s alleged employer, has also been suspended indefinitely, pending the results of the investigation.

The BI stressed that it has strict protocols in place in allowing accredited entities to enter the building. Aside from an odd-even scheme for social distancing, they may only transact at designated windows.

“Only authorized personnel may enter offices. Unauthorized entry (of accredited entities) will merit revocation of accreditation,” he said.

Morente also noted that procedures, timelines and fees are found in the BI’s website at www.immigration.gov.ph.

“We are very transparent with our procedures. All fees are found in our website to prevent unscrupulous individuals from tricking aliens into paying exorbitant amounts for their application,” he said.

“We are beefing up our strict no fixers policy. We will not tolerate fixing of any kind. Any fixer caught by our men will be turned over to the police for the filing of criminal charges,” he added.

NBI to probe alleged manipulation of pork prices, supply

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will look into the alleged manipulation of pork prices and supply.

Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra released the order appointing NBI Officer-in-Charge Eric Distor to head the investigation and case build-up. The DOJ also directed the NBI to submit a report within 30 days.

“If evidence warrants, to file the appropriate charges against persons found responsible thereof,” Guevarra stated in the department order.

Prices of pork and other food supply have soared triggered by the African Swine Fever outbreak and pandemic restrictions.

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the imposition of a price cap on selected food items in public markets such as pork and chicken to stop the cost from rising further. AAC

6th Wish Music Awards pioneers a groundbreaking new normal for PH music industry

Marje Pelayo   •   January 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s top FM station Wish 107.5 staged another milestone in the Philippine music industry with a concert inside not just any venue but at the Big Dome on Sunday (January 17).

The radio station of the famed Wish Bus, once again proved that it is truly “breaking boundaries”, that despite the pandemic it was able to pull off a grand concert for a cause and gathered some of the top Filipino artists at the 6th Wish Music Awards hosted by celebrity-athlete Gretchen Ho and “Asia’s Romantic Balladeer,” Christian Bautista. 

“It’s so nice to see people get a chance again to perform for their fans live, to just have a feel of the stage again,” said Ho.

Attendees underwent swab testing, while health protocols and proper sanitation procedures were strictly observed.

Each of the hosts and performing artists was given a microphone for their exclusive use throughout the event.

For the RT-PCR and antigen tests, Wish 107.5 partnered with Maxicare Health Corporation.

Only attendees with negative results were allowed to enter the venue.

The entire Big Dome also underwent massive disinfection for the safety of the attendees.

All productions and technical crew were required to use face masks and face shield throughout the event and floor markings were placed to guide them of the proper social distance.

The event at the Big Dome was not opened to the public, but fans and supporters were still able to enjoy the show as it was streamed live through Wish 107.5’s official YouTube channel.

Viewers on Sunday night reached to over 40,000 and the event hashtag #WishMusicAwards trended on Twitter with almost 200,000 tweets.

This year, the station gave two prestigious awards to individuals who made major contributions to the Philippine music industry, starting off with OPM legend and renowned lyricist, Rey Valera and Journey frontman and singer-philanthropist, Arnel Pineda.

“It is an honor to be bestowed this prestigious award; the prize money you’re going to give to us will definitely make a difference to the lives of our beneficiaries,” Pineda said, receiving the KDR Icon of Music and Philanthropy award.

“Salamat sa Kuya Daniel. Natutuwa ako puro kabataan ang nakikita ko. Nakikita ko ang kinabukasan ng OPM. Napakinggan ko ang mga lyrics nila. Importante sa akin iyon. Gusto kong mangyari kung ano ang mangyayari bukas,” Valera said receiving the KDR Icon of Musical Excellence award.

Winners in this year’s Wish Music Awards received P25,000 each while their chosen charities received P100, 000 each.

Among the highlights at Sunday’s event was the debut performance at the Wish Awards of OPM royalty, ‘Parokya ni Edgar’ and the award-winning Australian singer-songwriter Guy Sebastian.

Wish 107.5’s creator and innovator Kuya Daniel Razon, who on Sunday graced the event inside the Wish Bus, expressed his gratitude to all OPM artists for keeping their music alive to heal, to inspire and to give hope in the face of a pandemic. 

“I wish to tell all of you, that your endeavors are very much appreciated,” noted Kuya Daniel, President and CEO of BMPI-UNTV which manages Wish 107.5.

“Ang inyong mga awitin at musika ay nanatili para patuloy na umaliw, patuloy na dumamay, sa bawat lumbay, sa bawat pangamba at sa bawat takot. Mayroon pong mga titik, mayroong tinig at tunog na palaging nagbibigay buhay at kahulugan sa mga damdaming ito. I would like to thank you all for being our hidden heroes during this difficult time,” he added.

Kuya Daniel vows to continue helping more Filipino artists by providing an avenue for the promotion of their music and an opportunity to spread goodwill through Wish 107.5. MNP (with reports from Mirasol Abogadil)

READ: 6th Wish 107.5 Music Awards: Complete List of Winners

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