Noy signs NBI modernization law
Ghio Ong (The Philippine Star) - June 28, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino has signed Republic Act 10867, mandating the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)’s reorganization and modernization, 69 years after the creation of its first charter.

In a text message, Director Virgilio Mendez said Aquino signed the law last June 23 to update and upgrade the NBI’s organizational structure, facilities and training mechanisms to beef up its mandate of gathering intelligence information and case investigation.

Aquino also signed three other new laws: RA 10868,the Centenarians Act of 2016, RA 10866, the Batanes Responsible Tourism Act and RA10865, the Mayor Hilarion Ramiro Sr. Medical Center Act. 

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said RA 10868 does not carry the provision about 75 percent VAT exemption, which was the objectionable feature of the enrolled bill when it was first submitted to the President and vetoed in the 15th Congress.

RA 10868 will give centenarians a gift in the amount of P100,000.

A yearly “National Day of Respect for Centenarians” has also been declared every Sept. 25

Filipinos reaching the age of 100 years, whether residing in the Philippines or abroad, shall be honored with a Letter of Felicitation from the President congratulating the celebrant for his or her longevity.

All Filipinos turning centenarian in the current fiscal year shall be awarded a plaque of recognition and a cash incentive by their respective city or municipal governments in appropriate ceremonies.

The local government concerned shall determine the amount of the cash incentive.

RA10867 mandates the NBI to implement a modernization program geared toward the acquisition of state-of-the-art systems and procedures, investigative and intelligence equipment and the establishment of forensic and scientific laboratories.

Peter Lugay, NBI Special Task Force chief and one of the officials who worked on passing the law, told The STAR yesterday the law was needed to update the NBI charter, which was first signed in 1947.

The Senate ratified the bicameral conference committee report, which consolidated Senate Bill 2950 and House Bill 5855 on Feb. 3, 2016.

The NBI Reorganization and Modernization Act  provides that it is the state policy to promote and maintain an effective, modern, gender responsive, competent and highly trained investigative body, functionally integrated and national in scope.

The Congress website said the law provides that the state shall formulate plans and programs to enhance and modernize the NBI, with expanded structure, capability and manpower, responsive to the demands of the times.

The modernization would be funded 70 percent from the national budget and 30 percent to be collected from NBI clearance applications, which would not exceed P150 million, in a span of three years.

The modernization program shall include provisions for the training of NBI personnel.

The present structure of the NBI shall also be reorganized.

The NBI shall establish a regional office in every region to be headed by a director, and district offices in every province to be headed by a head agent. Field Offices may also be established and maintained by the director as the need arises.

Moreover, NBI employees who are exposed to danger while on duty may get hazard pay amounting to P4,000 monthly.

The law mandates the NBI to prioritize undertaking investigations in the human trafficking cases in all airports in the Philippines; extra-judicial and extra-legal killings committed by state security forces against media practitioners and activists; killings of justices and judges.

The law says the NBI will also prioritize probing violations under the Cybercrime Prevention Act, Anti-Dummy law, E-Commerce Act of 2000, Access Devices Regulations Act of 1998, Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines and the Securities Regulation Code.

The NBI will also first look into cases of estafa; those referred by the Inter-Agency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council; those involving threats to security or assaults against the persons of the president, vice president, Senate president, speaker of the House of Representatives, and chief justice; transnational crimes pursuant to existing international agreements; and identification of the dead/victims in case of mass fatality caused by natural disasters.

However, the president or the justice secretary may direct the NBI to probe any crime when public interest requires. --With Delon Porcalla

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