In QC project, ‘Big Brother’ watches from SUVs
Call them “Big Brothers on 4x4s.”
A Quezon City councilor and a legal organization promoting the interest of commuters have formed a partnership that will have several private vehicles equipped with dashboard cameras.
Their mission: To watch the streets for any disturbance, traffic violation or untoward incident that may later require video evidence.
Under the initiative of District 2 Councilor Ramon Medalla and Ariel Inton of the Lawyers for Commuters’ Safety and Protection, six sport utility vehicles rolled out on Friday equipped with industrial-grade dashboard cameras in front and in the back.
Medalla said the vehicles are his private property but they are often used for his projects as councilor.
“As a former board member of the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB), I have seen how video footage are very helpful in (resolving) different cases,” Inton said, explaining his group’s tie-up with Medalla. “Knowing that these vehicles have cameras may also serve as a deterrent to crime in our city.”
Some of the vehicles are unmarked, with no way of telling that they have “Big Brother” on board. The cameras, which were donated by a private firm for the project, will be recording 24/7 even if the vehicle’s engine is shut off.
The cars will be patrolling the streets, with Medalla’s staff behind the wheel. They are initially targeting crowded areas like shopping malls and terminals, where various incidents may be recorded during the Christmas rush.
Medalla expressed willingness to work with the Quezon City Police District should their video clips prove helpful in solving crimes.
“We are also open to streaming our feed to the city’s public order and safety department,” he said, citing the Emergency Operations Center, a communications hub that coordinates the movement of the various service units of the local government.
“The footage may also be turned over to the LTFRB and Land Transportation Office (if needed),” Inton added.
The city council recently passed an ordinance requiring the installation of dashboard cameras in police patrol vehicles.
Mayor Herbert Bautista, however, vetoed the measure, citing the lack of specifications and unclear provisions regarding the source of funding.
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