By Macon Araneta i FilAm Star Correspondent
With too many blind spots because of the lack of closed circuit TV (CCTV) cameras, the country’s airports could just as well be ideal lovers’ lanes.
Sen. Grace Poe hinted at this her remark over the absence of surveillance cameras in some areas in the country’s airports.
“I think if you’re looking for a place to go, you can go to the airport. You can have your date there and nobody can see you,” she said in jest.
During her interpellation of Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito in the marathon debates of the national budget, Poe inquired about the number of CCTVs in airports.
“Are we complete now with our CCTV cameras in NAIA and in our major airports? Hindi ba may napatay na mayor na matagal na?” she asked.
Poe was referring to the case of Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur Mayor Ukol Talumpa who was killed at the arrival area of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 in December 2013. His wife and two others were also shot dead.
Ejercito, who defended the agency’s budget said NAIA General Manager Ed Monreal reported that the bidding for the CCTV project was “already completed” and the “post-qualification” process was on-going. He added that airport officials are hoping the process would be completed by January 2019.
Poe and Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri were dismayed with the reason given by the NAIA management.
“Why the delay? Three years had already lapsed. Why will cameras be installed only now?” Poe asked.
Stressing the importance of CCTVs, Poe said the cameras would also serve as extra protection to passengers, including OFWs. It would deter baggage theft, more so if they are strategically placed on baggage routes from the plane to the carousel.
“The X-ray machines (at) the entrance of the airport should also have CCTVs so that if the baggage of an OFW was opened, it can immediately be captured on cam,” she said.
The Senator said NAIA’s 24-hour camera monitoring should likewise cover taxi bays “so that if an OFW would complain that he’s being charged a high rate, there is proof of wrong-doing.”
Ejercito said there had been failures of bidding for the past eight years and a losing bidder sought a temporary restraining order from a local court, which prevents the MIAA from procuring CCTVs.
“So it’s really crazy,” he said.