A committee in the House of Representatives used Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian’s legislation as the main reference for a consolidated bill that will substitute laws proposing the installation of closed-circuit televisions or CCTVs in the country.
In a memorandum, the House Committee on Public Safety and Order informed the deputy secretary-general of House committee affairs department that they will use House Bill No. 4284 as basis of a new bill that will substitute 12 similar bills pending before the panel.
Gatchalian has been seeking for the mandatory installation of CCTV cameras with face recognition capabilities to be installed in business establishments and public areas to prevent crime in the country in his bill, the CCTV Cameras for Crime Prevention Act of 2014.
“House Bill No. 4284 authored by Gatchalian shall be used as reference bill and shall be harmonized with all the pertinent provisions of the other 12 measures,” the House committee on Public Safety and Order ordered in the memorandum issued on October 29.
Pangasinan Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil, chair of the House panel’s technical working group, made the decision after being convinced that Gatchalian’s bill covers nearly all of the provisions and concerns on other 11 measures on mandatory CCTV installation.
A Teacher Party-list Reps. Julieta Cortuna and Mariano Piamonte agreed that using Gatchalian’s bill would harmonize provisions contained in House Bill Nos. 425, 618, 620, 774, 2449, 3129, 3261, 3597, 3835, 3836, and 4284.
In its second hearing on Tuesday, the sub-committee sought the opinions of law enforcers on the cost of CCTV units and its maintenance after taking into account those establishment owners who finds it hard to provide such high-tech equipment because of financial difficulty.
Police Senior Inspector Mike Macapagal, an officer at the Philippine National Police (PNP)’s Information Communication and Technology Management, informed the House sub-committee that the cost of a CCTV unit reaches P25,000.
Macapagal said the unit is already composed of four cameras, a digital video recorder, and one terabyte hard disk drive (HDD), but he failed to clarify whether this type of CCTV has facial recognition capabilities that can be used to identify suspects during crime instances.
With only one terabyte HDD, Macapagal noted that the unit can only contain a maximum storage of three weeks.
James Arroyo, an information officer at the National Bureau of Investigation or NBI also explained that the CCTV unit Macapagal was referring to is an ‘analog’ type, which can only record in standard resolution or 480p.
The analog camera, Arroyo elaborated, is inferior to the “Internet Protocol or IP” cameras that has the capability to record in 720p or 1080p resolution needed to easily identify persons captured in CCTV footages.
The sub-committee then requested the PNP to come up with a presentation next hearing to provide for a comprehensive technical specifications on the kind of CCTV cameras that will be installed. (Timothy Alcantara)