MANILA, Philippines — The San Juan City government is now requiring business establishments primarily handling financial transactions to equip themselves with security cameras and other surveillance systems before the end of the year.
City ordinance 7, series of 2013, mandates business establishments, specifically banks, pawnshops, money changers, convenience stores, gasoline stations, money transfer centers, bills payment centers and supermarkets, to operate video surveillance and monitoring systems not just inside their stores, but also in the vicinity of their operation.
The ordinance, enacted by the San Juan City Council and approved by Mayor Guia Gomez earlier this year, notes that “incidents of robberies and burglaries have recently been hogging the news and have even resulted to the loss of innocent lives.”
The ordinance also said that these crimes could somehow be prevented by surveillance and monitoring systems installed in businesses, which would make it easy for the police to monitor events and investigate crimes.
The ordinance compels these business establishments to install not only plain security or closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, but also equipment which would allow the storage of camera footage, transmission of footage to remote video monitoring stations, and the triggering of alarms for violations of security rules.
“The daily video recordings must be stored and preserved for a minimum period of at least 30 days for review purposes and reference unless its preservation is required by a court order, by the police, or the city mayor,” the ordinance read.
Authorized local authorities and the police should also be allowed access to the recorded security footage, with the mayor, City Council, and the local chief of police having the power to authorize the viewing of recorded security camera footage.
As a matter of privacy, the ordinance, forbids the unauthorized viewing of archived footage and the unauthorized disclosure or identification of any persons captured in the video.
Business establishments are given six months from the effectivity of the ordinance to complete wireless video interconnections with central monitoring systems that will be set up by the city government for the local police.
The ordinance also requires these business establishments to convert their security systems to modern standards, such as cameras with color and night vision and with programmable alert systems, within one year from the effectivity of the measure.
Businesses which fail to comply with the ordinance will be meted a P5,000 fine, regardless of how many times it violated the ordinance. However, on the first offense, owners of the establishments will be required to attend a security remedial seminar.
In the second offense, the businesses’ permit and license to operate will be suspended for a month, and it will be suspended for the rest of the year for the third offense. The city government can also suspend the business until it settles the penalty.
Meanwhile, people found to violate the confidentiality of security footage will be given a fine of P5,000 and/or six months’ imprisonment, depending on the discretion of the court.