Yamsuan prods Congress to approve measure requiring CCTVs in business establishments

May 9, 2024 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 135 views

BICOL Saro Partylist Rep. Brian Raymund Yamsuan has pushed for the swift passage of a measure that aims to mandate business establishments to install closed-circuit television (CCTVs) systems in and around their premises.

Yamsuan said that as a former official of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), he recognizes the necessity of using CCTV cameras and other modern technological tools to help keep the public safe and aid police investigators in solving crimes.

House Bill (HB) 8068, of which Yamsuan is a co-author, seeks to mandate business establishments with 20 or more workers or those with transactions amounting to at least P50,000 a day to install CCTV cameras in all their entrances and exits, inside their workplaces, and other areas within their premises.

Yamsuan recalled that back in 2022, the DILG issued a memorandum circular urging cities and municipalities to enact ordinances prescribing the installation of CCTV systems for certain business establishments, such as banks, office buildings, gasoline stations, pawnshops, supermarkets and medical facilities.

“HB 8068 takes this one step further by making this a requirement, rather than a preference, for all businesses that have more than 20 employees or those engaged in large transactions on a daily basis. The private sector can play a key role in helping law enforcers secure public places and prevent crime by installing CCTV cameras in strategic locations,” said Yamsuan, a former DILG Assistant Secretary.

“The goal is to make CCTV cameras effective tools in helping deter, detect and solve crimes,” he added.

Yamsuan said that these devices also help check abuses committed by law enforcers as shown in some instances when CCTV footage played before the House Committee on Public Order and Safety, of which he is a member, caught police officers committing irregularities in conducting drug buy-bust operations.

Under the bill, “the installation of surveillance/CCTV cameras shall be a mandatory requirement before business permits or permits to operate are issued.”

The establishments covered by the measure include, but are not limited to: restaurants, hospitals, malls, shopping centers, movie houses, theaters, supermarkets, groceries, entertainment centers, office buildings, warehouses, and cockpit arenas.

These and other similar establishments are required to maintain their CCTV cameras in good working condition, and ensure such devices are turned on and recording 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Installing surveillance or CCTV cameras in “any restroom, toilet, shower, bathroom, changing room, and other similar areas” are prohibited under the measure.

Business establishments shall also inform the public about the installation and use of CCTV cameras in their premises through written notices prominently displaced at their entrances.

The owners or managers of business establishments are required under the bill to maintain the privacy and confidentiality of the video feeds and recordings obtained as a result of the use of their CCTV cameras.

Thus, it is prohibited to use, view, copy, disclose, or publish said video feeds, except in circumstances outlined under the measure.

These allowable circumstances are the use, viewing, copying and disclosure to a member or officer of a law enforcement agency in connection with, and limited to, the investigation or prosecution of an offense punishable by law or regulation, or in connection with any pending criminal proceeding.

Viewing, copying and disclosure of CCTV feeds are also allowed under the bill to determine whether or not an offense was committed against a person or property; to ascertain the identity of a criminal perpetrator; and to find out the manner by which the offense was perpetrated.

The measure penalizes business establishments violating its provisions with imprisonment not exceeding six months, or a fine not exceeding P10,000, or both, “without prejudice to other civil or criminal liabilities that may arise” from such violations.

Local government units (LGUs) with jurisdiction over the business establishment and the DILG are the agencies tasked to implement the bill’s provisions.

HB 8068 was principally authored by Representatives Paolo Duterte of Davao City’s 1st District; Eric Yap of Benguet’s Lone District, and Edvic Yap of the ACT-CIS Partylist.