By Mick Basa
DAVAO CITY, Philippines– Don’t get confident when there are no cops watching.
Davao now has 130 surveillance cameras installed around the city as part of the authorities’ measures to monitor safety, disaster and crime.
This was made in time for the security for the upcoming Kadayawan Festival where thousands of tourists are expected to flock the city.
The new head of the Davao City Public Safety Command Center Retired General Francisco Villaroman said the 130 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras are an addition to the 40 existing mounted units.
Villaroman said this is part of the city’s completion of the P 100-million Intelligence Operations Center (IOC) that will improve Davao’s disaster and crime response.
The IOC was created in 2012 in partnership with information technology company IBM Philippines.
The IOC will send live images and a comprehensive view of the city to the Command Center located in 911 as seen by cameras provides efficient intelligence for government agencies, including the police, adds Villaroman.
“So don’t be too confident when there are no cops watching,” he quipped.
Villaroman said he would not disclose the location of the CCTVs but this draws concern from a human rights advocate.
But Carlos Conde, Philippine researcher for Human Rights Watch, said “the people of Davao have the right to know the locations of these surveillance cameras. People need to know when they could be filmed.”
Conde clarified though that the police do not need “to disclose what is in the field of vision of a specific camera and where one could potentially commit a crime off-camera. That’s a fair security consideration.”
Villaroman said the center still “aims to mount 200 to 300 CCTV cameras” all over the city.
Other security measures for the Kadayawan Festival include establishing checkpoints in the entry and exit areas of the city and deploying more police in public areas.
IBM Philippines president Mariels Winhoffer and country general manager said Davao is the world’s first city to have such operations and a “model in the Philippines and Asia.” But the New York Times earlier reported Rio de Janeiro to have its own technology, mapping locations of car accidents, power failures and other problems. (Mick Basa/davaotoday.com)CCTV, davao, davao city, IBM Philippines, kadayawan, surveillance