By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senator Grace Poe expressed dismay over the slow-paced installation of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
During her interpellation on the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) proposed 2019 budget past midnight Tuesday, Poe, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Services, inquired about the number of CCTVs in airports.
“Are we complete now with our CCTV cameras in NAIA and in our major airports? Hindi ba may napatay na mayor na matagal na (Wasn’t a mayor killed there years ago)?” she asked Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito, who was defending the agency’s proposed allocation for next year.
Poe was referring to the killing of Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur Mayor Ukol Talumpa and his wife, who were gunned down at the arrival area of the NAIA Terminal 3 in December 2013.
Two others, including a child, were also killed.
No CCTV cameras were installed in the arrival area where the incident happened, Poe recalled.
Ejercito, in response, said Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal reported that the bidding for the CCTV project was “already completed” and a “post-qualification” of the bidder was ongoing.
Airport officials supposedly expect that the process would be completed by January 2019.
But Poe was not pleased with the update given by the NAIA management.
“Bakit ang tagal? Bakit ngayon lang magkakaroon (What’s taking it so long? Why are you installing cameras just now)?” Poe asked.
Ejercito said there had been failures of bidding for the past eight years and a losing bidder sought a temporary restraining order from a local court, which prevented the MIAA from procuring CCTVs.
“So it’s really crazy,” he said.
Poe stressed that CCTVs would have served as extra protection to passengers, including overseas Filipino workers.
She said it would deter baggage theft, especially if placed strategically on baggage routes from the plane to the carousel.