Install high-definition CCTV cameras in all baggage checking areas of airports –Lawmaker

MANILA, Nov. 29 (PNA) — A lawmaker has proposed the installation of high-definition closed-circuit surveillance cameras in baggage checking areas of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and all others airports nationwide to prevent alleged illegal and extortion activities by airport security personnel.

Rep. Mark A. Villar (Lone District, Las Piñas City) filed House Bill No. 6243 to be known as the “Luggage Surveillance Act of 2015” in the midst of rampant incidents of bullet planting and extortion allegedly by security personnel, which have developed a culture of fear among tourists and balikbayans as well.

Villar said the common narration of the victims is that they were stopped after their luggage have been scanned. The security officer would then check the luggage and pull out a bullet from its pocket. Thereafter, the security officer would then detain the victim and extort money for the speedy resolution of the problem.

“These incidents of tanim bala are truly inimical to our tourism industry and to the national economy. We can utilize technology to our advantage, especially in protecting people and in preventing undesirable incidents from happening,” Villar said.

He stressed that with the installation of high-definition closed-circuit television cameras, the perpetrators of this nefarious “laglag bala” or “tanim bala” scheme can be identified or deterred.

Villar pointed out that the use of high-definition CCTV cameras will also be a security measure for other unlawful schemes that have not been anticipated.

“The installation of closed-circuit television system cameras in public places and in business establishments have proven to be useful in identifying and catching offenders, and in preventing crimes from happening due to the fear of being caught,” Villar said.

In filing the bill, Villar cited the declared policy of the State to maintain peace and order, protect life, liberty, and property, and promote the general welfare.

The measure requires the installation of HD CCTV cameras and properly maintained in all Baggage Checking Areas in airport terminals. It is mandated that these HD CCTV cameras shall be online for 24-hours a day and seven days a week. It is also required that a deposit of video recordings be kept for a period not less than 60 days from recording.

Under the bill, the Philippine National Police Aviation Security Group is mandated to take charge of operating and maintaining in good condition the HD CCTV cameras.

The authorized custodian of the video recordings shall maintain the privacy and confidentiality of the video recordings obtained as a result of the surveillance performed. He shall prohibit any use, viewing, disclosure, or publication of the video recordings.

The bill prohibits the tampering of the HD CCTV cameras. Any person who commits an offense shall be liable to imprisonment not exceeding three years and a fine not more than P30,000, or both.

It the violator is a public officer or employee, he or she shall be liable to imprisonment not exceeding five years and a fine not exceeding P50,000, or both. (PNA)