Once a place of execution during the Spanish era and now a must-see destination for tourists, Rizal Park has also become one of the most watched pieces of real estate in the country.
The Department of Tourism on Tuesday formally launched the operation of 30 close circuit television (CCTV) cameras around the park to boost security in time for the expected rise in visitor volume this Christmas.
“The installation of CCTVs is a positive step taken by National Parks Development Committee in preparation for the upcoming holidays. We are all aware that Rizal Park is visited and is one of the favorite destinations of millions of Filipinos and foreign tourists during Christmas Day and the New Year,” Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. said.
“To bring in more tourists to a tourist spot, peace and order must be guaranteed, just like in our Rizal Park. We have to give tourists our assurance that they are safe within the confines of our national park,” he said.
Jimenez and NPDC Executive Director Juliet H. Villegas graced the launch of the security project which is expected to not only monitor crowd movement but also help police spot crime suspects.
The cameras were installed on the stretch of the park from Quirino Grandstand to Taft Avenue, particularly in areas with high pedestrian traffic, along the perimeter and at the gated sections.
Aside from its 24/7 operation, high resolution and 360-degree pan and zoom features, the CCTV system can also be used to make crowd estimates and help in the search for missing or wanted persons based on a sketch that may be given to the command center, said NPDC spokesperson Kenneth Montegrande.
“This can be useful especially if the local police are searching for a criminal who is listed as ‘wanted.’ Once the CCTV recognizes the face of a wanted criminal, the command system will issue an alarm and will prompt the security team to respond,” he said.
“The system utilized by the CCTVs is linked to the data base of the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation (in such a way that) law enforcers will be able to respond to criminal incidents in real time,” he added.
Villegas also announced the creation of a quick response system and the construction of information and assistance kiosks at the lobby of the NPDC Office, the tourist police station near the monument of national hero Jose Rizal, and the children’s playground.
The kiosks will be equipped with touchscreen monitors that could provide visitors with fast facts about the park and its various attractions.
“The idea is to inform the public of what Rizal Park has in store for them. With a touch of a finger, their desired places will be seen on the screen and they will be provided with details plus a 360-degree view of the attraction,” Villegas said.
“All these efforts are in line with the marching order of Tourism Secretary Jimenez to help bring back the trust and confidence of the public in Rizal Park in the hopes of bringing back its former glory,” she added.
The kiosk project is expected to be completed before the end of the year, she said.