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Installing CCTV cameras in city hall
By Elson T. Elizaga

The government of Cagayan de Oro wants to use CCTV cameras to catch traffic law violators. It also encourages businessmen to install the same in their buildings to lessen crime. How about putting surveillance cameras inside every office of the government, with images and audio accessible to everyone using the Internet?

I’m making this suggestion because the mayor – more or less – of Cagayan de Oro is having difficulty remembering events.  He cannot recall who sent one metric ton of ballots to the city dump. In May, he said the anomaly was “a setup” by the opposition. In June, he said he ordered a city hall employee, Federico Gempesaw, to deliver the merchandise which, he insisted, were "sample ballots." In July, he changed his mind and declared again that the opposition was responsible. Why would the opposition throw one metric ton of sample ballots using a government dump truck?

Clearly – or vaguely, depending on one’s viewpoint, or lack of it – the mayor must stop relying on his diminishing memory. And not only he but Atty. Gina Zayas-Sabio of the City Comelec. Sabio and her staff claimed they didn't know who stole the ballots and other election materials from the Comelec office.

To make matters worse, majority of the city councilors refuse to have the incident investigated. This decision doesn't help our bumbling mayor at all.

The only solution to prevent a similar occurrence then is the installation of security CCTV cameras not only along the roads but in every corner of city hall, inside the Comelec, at the dump site, and other government facilities.

Some of these cameras can be connected to the Internet using a software like TeamViewer. Given an ID and a password, anyone online with TeamViewer can have access to the surveillance cameras inside City Hall or other government offices, helping government officials prevent crime. Call it Small Brother.

There are several types of CCTV cameras. The latest have built-in digital video recorders (DVR). Featured in Hidden Spycamera, one of the most expensive ($649) is weather-proofed and has a motion detector. It is portable, and the rechargeable batteries can power the unit for two days, which makes the camera useful outdoors. You can also program the camera to ignore specific movements, or set it to work only on a set schedule.

Another camera ($429) has no built-in DVR but is equipped with a high-resolution color CCD with  a 27x-zoom lens and remote control. The camera connects to the video input jack of a VCR, TV or computer.

And then there’s a dome CCTV camera ($369.00) that can pan, tilt and zoom by wireless remote control.

There are also CCTV spy cameras that you can hide in a clock, cell phone, radio set, car and computers. And for only $119, you can get an 8-gb color pen camcorder. It's so easy even illiterates can use it. Just press a button and presto, you're in business.

For dark areas like the city engineer’s store room (bodega), there’s a motion-tracking CCTV camera ($299) with six IR LED sensors. It has four recording modes: manual, schedule, motion detection and motion tracking. With this surveillance tool, certainly any unwanted entry by the opposition or members of the media will be known. Just switch off the camera before you open the ballot boxes and change the flash cards. End

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