CCTVs in church? Amen to that
God is not the only one “watching” when you pray inside some churches in Metro Manila today.
The diocese of Cubao in Quezon City has begun installing closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in its parishes to deter thieves from preying on the faithful inside these places of worship.
Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco said some parishes under his jurisdiction had already installed CCTV cameras after the Quezon City government passed an ordinance requiring business establishments to set up the relatively low-cost surveillance systems as a requirement in applying for or renewing their permits from City Hall.
Earlier this week, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista reminded local businessmen that the “no CCTV, no business permit” policy will be strictly implemented starting January next year.
Approved in April, the ordinance covers banks, gasoline stations, supermarkets, pawnshops, money changers, 24-hour convenience stores, schools, restaurants, and other high-risk establishments that handle extensive cash transactions amounting to P50,000 or more daily.
In an interview on Church-run Radio Veritas, Ongtioco said “CCTV cameras are really helpful. In fact, some of our churches already have CCTVs, at least in the convents and some important areas.”
“It’s necessary so that in case something happened, you can easily make a review and identify the perpetrators,” he added.
The interview was quoted in the article posted on the website of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. According to the article, churches across the country have also become targets of criminals, with thieves going after antique religious icons and even church bells.
However, Ongtioco expressed reservations about the Quezon City government’s decision to make CCTVs a requirement for securing business permits.
“To make it a requirement is another big issue. It should be discussed,” the bishop said.
“It’s a good measure, but then the important question is: Can everyone afford it, especially those with small businesses?” the prelate added.—With a report from Jeannette Andrade
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