By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The Bacolod City government is currently operating with four functional closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, out of a total 15. According to City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO) head and Executive Assistant Joemarie Vargas, the city is unable to conduct repairs due to an ongoing Commission on Audit (COA) investigation into the procurement of the said devices.
The COA previously issued a “red flag” in regards to the cameras, following allegations of overpricing.
Last year, upon discovering the malfunctioning cameras, City Legal Office (CLO) head, Atty. Joselito Bayatan, claimed they were “definitely overpriced” when they were acquired during the previous mayoral administration of Monico Puentevella.
Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia also chimed in calling it “part of a behavioral pattern.”
Vargas had earlier revealed the CCTV cameras cost the city a total of P14 million.
The CDRRMO explained, in order to proceed with repairs, the city must first receive clearance from the COA. However, he added, they have been unable to locate the purchase documents.
Former CDRRMO head Rufino Alcala previously explained the additional costs for the cameras came from the geographic information system (GIS) and the remote control for the devices./WDJ