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Advocacy group: Filipinos must be responsible digital citizens to protect themselves from cybercrime 

March 18, 2022 7:51 p.m.

FILIPINO consumers must become responsible digital citizens to protect themselves from internet-based crimes, and while there are existing laws against cybercrimes, the government and the private sector must work together to educate and empower the people against falling prey to cybercriminals, an advocacy group said.

“The pandemic has pushed most of us to shift our activities online,” said lawyer Tim Abejo, co-convenor of CitizenWatch Philippines. “We now do our banking, shopping, schooling, over the internet. We order food online and do our work from home. These have their benefits, of course, but they also carry great risk.”

 Abejo said that while these internet transactions result in convenience and efficiency, they also bring the danger of abuse and exploitation in many forms. “There are many who are out to take advantage of unsuspecting internet users. We have to make sure that our people arm themselves against these online predators.”

 During the pandemic period, the number of cyber tips received by the Department of Justice – Office of Cybercrime tripled to 1.2 million in 2020 from just 400,000 the previous year. Most common among internet crimes are fraud, sexual abuse and exploitation, bullying, and identity theft.

 Targeting the vulnerable

 Abejo cited the UNICEF finding that prolonged lockdowns have made children and young people more vulnerable because these resulted in extended hours online.

 “For two years now, they cannot go out to play or go to school or to meet their friends,” said Abejo.

 “Instead, they are constantly online to study, play or socialize. This provides predators the opportunity to manipulate them for their own gains.”

 Meanwhile, the public has also seen a rise in incidents of hacking of online bank accounts.

“Sure, there have been arrests. But these people are always one step ahead and they are bound to come up with newer, more sophisticated ways to launch cyber-attacks,” Abejo said.

 The Bankers Association of the Philippines said more than P1 billion was lost last year due to cyber fraud.

 “These criminals are so ingenious,” Abejo said. “They dupe people into disclosing sensitive information through innocent- or legitimate-looking emails, text messages, or even social media posts.”

 He said that ransomware is becoming more prevalent in the Philippines, where malicious software – malware – gains access to a computer system, which would become inaccessible unless the user pays ransom.

 Laws and public private partnerships

 “To be sure, there is no dearth of laws protecting the public from cybercrimes,” Abejo said.

 “The laws range from the broader Cybercrime Prevention Act to data privacy, to preventing online sexual abuse and exploitation, to those protecting the integrity of electronic transactions or strengthening financial literacy for consumers in the digital economy,” he said, citing that the real challenge is making the people aware that these laws do exist and enforcing them in this context.

 Abejo proposed that, “Government should incentivize private initiatives to engage the education sector such as the Digital Thumbprint Program of digital solutions company Globe in partnership with the Department of Education that has integrated into the curriculum the training of young students to be knowledgeable in cybersecurity and responsible digital citizenship.”

 “More public private engagements in digitally powered interventions can give free online access to workshop modules to arm people with the knowledge and attitude to responsibly and safely navigate the internet,” Abejo added.

 A common concern

 According to Abejo, empowering Filipinos to be aware of and fight online risks is a collective effort that must be undertaken by the government, the private sector, civil society, and the education sector.

 “Specifically, telcos and ISPs should partner with the government to engage in an aggressive and sustained education program to raise awareness of online dangers,” Abejo said.

 “Technology is good because it allows societies to be productive and innovative, and reach their potential,” he said. “We must manage the inherent risks and learn how to protect ourselves against those who think they can use the internet to advance their criminal interests.”

 “As we are now in a highly digital world, we must choose leaders who can be digital transformation champions to address digital readiness gaps that can delay our recovery from the pandemic crisis,” Abejo said.

NEWS

Ateneo, UP face off again for UAAP title

December 7, 2022 9:54 p.m.

For the second straight season, it will be Ateneo de Manila University versus University of the Philippines in the UAAP men’s basketball finals.

Moments after the Fighting Maroons escaped National University, the Blue Eagles thrashed Adamson University, 81-60, to advance to its sixth consecutive Finals appearance on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Game One of the best-of-three championship series will be on Sunday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

“We had our best offensive performance of the year. I think when you get some time to prepare and your opponent doesn’t have much time and they were playing on heart, they were playing on Nash’s brain, and all of those things they have a ton of,” said Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin.

“But the cauldron of the semifinals you need more than that you need time to prepare, you need rest, and you need a full team hitting on all cylinders and tonight we were that team,” continued Baldwin.

Already ahead by eight early in the third period, Dave Ildefonso scored eight straight points before Ange Kouame and Chris Koon connived to end the quarter with 19 unanswered points and give Ateneo a 27-point advantage heading into the fourth, 63-36.

Sean Quitevis then opened the payoff frame with another trey to put the Blue Eagles up by 30 with 9:14 left, 66-36, before Jed Colonia made the Soaring Falcons’ first basket in nine minutes with 8:30 to go. Jerom Lastimosa last scored on a layup at the 7:27 mark of the third.

Forthsky Padrigao had 16 points and five assists, while Koon was 4-of-5 from deep to end with 15 points to go with five assists and a plus-21 in his 19 minutes on the floor.

Kai Ballungay chimed in 13 points, while Ildefonso had 11 points and nine rebounds.

Lastimosa was the lone Falcon in double figures with 10 points on a woeful 4-of-15 shooting from the field.

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Adamson eliminates La Salle, claims last seat in Final 4

December 4, 2020 10:11 p.m.

Adamson University knocked out De La Salle University, 80-76, to grab the last Final Four spot in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament, Sunday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

The Soaring Falcons will face top seed Ateneo de Manila University, which holds a twice-to-beat edge, in the Final Four on Wednesday, 6 p.m., at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“We’re happy to be in the Final Four. We’re actually gatecrashing the Final Four. People didn’t expect us to be in the Final Four, they expected I don’t know what you call them… big spenders. To me, they’re all big spenders but I’m happy the team did their part,” said Adamson coach Nash Racela.

“We will check our emotions because we don’t want to be in a high because may trabaho pa and we’re still gonna play Wednesday and the weekend,” he added.

With the Falcons down by a single point, Lenda Douanga took matters into his own hands, draining a push shot before dishing to Cedrick Manzano the next play for the reverse layup and a three-point Adamson lead with 58.8 seconds left, 77-74.

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After multiple empty possessions on both ends, Evan Nelle came up clutch, stealing Joem Sabandal’s inbound and burying a lay-in to pull La Salle within one with 15.4 ticks to go, 76-77.

The Green Archers were forced to put Jerom Lastimosa on the line in the ensuing play, which the Soaring Falcon made both to push them up by three anew, 79-76, before Nelle missed his three-pointer attempt badly, only hitting the side of the board as Joshua Yerro iced the game from the charity stripe.

La Salle led by as much as 13 in the third frame, 51-38, but Lastimosa went ballistic, going for 11 from his 22 points there to help Adamson inch within one at the end of the quarter, 59-60.

Adamson’s Jerom Lastimosa

Lastimosa also added six assists and a steal, while Yerro had 13 points and six rebounds.

AP Manlapaz chimed in 22 points, while Douanga got 10 points and seven rebounds.

In the sudden death playoff for fourth seed, the Green Archers did not have three of their best players in Schonny Winston, Mike Phillips, and Kevin Quiambao.

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URCC 81: Decades of Success happens Dec. 6 in Okada

November 27, 2022 7:22 p.m.

THE Universal Reality Combat Championship will celebrate two decades of greatness titled the “Decades of Success” in a fight night on December 6, featuring the country’s best mixed martial artists at the Okada Manila in Parañaque City. 

Three years since the last time they held their last main event, URCC founding president Alvin Aguilar announced the coming URCC 81 will definitely be a night to remember with events like the 3 Versus 3, MMA fight and the bare-knuckle bouts.

“Our first main event in three years will definitely be an unforgettable night in mixed martial arts. We have a lot of good fighters and everyone is very excited,” Aguilar said. 

The last time URCC held a main event — Retribution— was in November 2019, at the same venue. Despite the pandemic, URCC didn’t stop as it held three fight nights when the government finally allowed contact sports. 

In celebrating URCC’s main event return, Aguilar will be having Team Philippines of Sugar Ray “Mammoth” Estroso, Caloy “Bad Boy” Baduria and Boss Bullet Manliclic taking up against South Koreans Jeong Minhun, Choi Wontae and Jeon Youngjun in an exciting 3 versus 3 event.

“We have to go up against other Asian countries before we start expanding. So we meet Korea then later on China again and then we will invite people from Russia and the USA. This is the fourth time we will be holding this 3 versus 3 fight,” Aguilar said, who also expects the other events to live up to the hype.

A URCC welterweight interim championship is also set between Filipino Arvin Chan and American Will Chope as the other highlight of the main event presented by Okada Manila and sponsored by Winzir.

URCC Global Chairman Arnold Vegafria said the promotions have been evolving since 2002, becoming a household name in the local mixed martial arts industry, where it discovered great MMA fighters and promoted quality fights abroad. 

For inquiries about tickets sale, go to www.urcc.online and download app https://apps.wix.com/place-invites/join-lp/b4e05b90-55a0-40a8-8fac-17ccf4a2c074?ref=pre_banner_top which is available for iOS and Google.

Other MMA undercard bouts feature Dunlee Stewart facing John Tirona in a 170 lbs bout, followed by Gester Maglaque meeting Mariano Jones in an 185 lbs bout; Kimbert Alintozon battling Junie Kimayong (125 lbs); Rhyle Lugo clashing against Alex Aballe (145 lbs) and Eros Baluyot taking on MJ Abrillo (125 lbs). 

For the thrilling bare-knuckle competitions, Damsa Abrenica collides with Joseph “King Pinoy” Cabral, while Dondon Serrano squares off with Sherwin Niro and Denzel Dimaguila fights Mark Jalaron.  

Details of the fight and future fight cards are available to download at https://apps.wix.com/place-invites/join-lp/b4e05b90-55a0-40a8-8fac-17ccf4a2c074?ref=pre_banner_top, which is available for iOS and Google.

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