DAVAO City Council is set to conduct an inquiry on the monitoring implemented by the Public Safety Command Center (PSCC) stemming from last week's midnight visit by Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who found no personnel manning the center.
The PSCC, brainchild of erstwhile city mayor and incumbent Vice Mayor Duterte, serves as the nerve center of the city's traffic signalization and 17 state-of-the-art closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras said to have cost P704 million for the Phase III alone.
The PSCC created under Executive Order No. 12 serves as a venue for coordination on matters of public safety other offices and departments, both local and national, in attaining the ends of public safety by facilitating coordination and providing technical services and support.
City Councilor Nilo Abellera Jr. delivered a privilege speech expressing disappointment and motioned that the City Council committee on peace and public safety chaired by Councilor Paolo Duterte to immediately conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation.
Abellera echoed the vice mayor's sentiments as the latter visited the PSCC at wee hours of August 26 along with visitors outside the city only to find that nobody was inside the PSCC except for a security guard.
"How can these multi-million project serve its purpose when in fact those personnel mandated by law to protect another individual from a foreseeable risk of harm failed to act with utmost diligence?" Abellera said.
In an interview, City Councilor Paolo Duterte said he too was disappointed.
"Siyempre kay garbo nato na sa taga-Dabaw nga naa tay ingunana nga facilities pero dapat bantayan pud na dapat naa gyuy mag-man dinha (It's Davao's pride to have that kind of facility, there should be people manning it)," Councilor Duterte said.
"Magpatawag ta ug committee hearing kung ngano nahitabo na, kung tinood ba na naay gibutang diha ang gobyerno. Dapat pud nato mahibawan sa City Council kay kwarta gud na sa tao ang ginagamit dinha (We will be calling for a committee hearing why this happened, if it's true that the government placed some people there. The City Council should know too because that's people's money)," he said.
He added that they still do not know whether there is really no one assigned the graveyard shift or it was just that one time when the vice mayor dropped by.
"Wala 'ta kabalo kung ingana pud ba sa laing panahon. Pangutana ninyo ang mayor nganong walay tao dinha kay dili man na under sa among jurisdiction (We don't know about the other times. Ask the Mayor why there was no people there because that's not under our jurisdiction)," Councilor Duterte said.
As to who is responsible for the monitoring of the PSCC, Councilor Duterte said Abellera has informed him that the PSCC has been turned over to the City Government.
This, however, is opposite the statement of City Mayor Sara Duterte who said the multi-million PSCC is still managed by the project implementor, Abratique and Associates Inc.
"Wala pa man na siya gi-turnover sa contractor sa gobyerno kay wala pa man na siya nahuman (This wasn't turned over by the contractor to the City Government because it's not yet finished)," the mayor said in an interview Monday at Central 911 Office along Ponciano St.
In reaction to the Vice Mayor's disappointment upon visiting the PSCC, Mayor Duterte said PSCC commander Ret. Col. Verner Monsanto was asked to explain by the vice mayor why there were no personnel at that time.
"Wala ko kabasa sa letter ni Col. Monsanto. Pero even if wala nay tao dira nagadagan ra man gihapon na. Gina-record gihapon ang kung unsang makit-an sa CCTV. Di na siya kinahanglan naay tao mutanaw sa monitor (I have not read the letter of Col. Monsanto. But even if there is no one monitoring the system is still recording what is monitored through the CCTV. It does not need to have a person there to monitor)," the Mayor said.
With this, the Mayor explained that the PSCC is yet to finalize its priorities.
"Eventually the plan is it will have the traffic, Central 911 into the PSCC. Sa karon naga-record siya, pwede lang na siya i-review. Kung naay nahitabo i-review tong recording. Ang cameras dinha dili na intended for security (For now the limitation of the PSCC is it records and what is recorded can be reviewed. If anything happens the recording can be reviewed. The cameras there was not originally intended for security) it was intended for traffic signalization," the Mayor said.
She added that deterrence to crime is but a secondary use for the CCTV.
The mayor also said the PSCC is yet to have a local ordinance covering what are the powers of the PSCC as there is also no national law covering this. This is where the city council should step in.
Vice Mayor Duterte on Sunday specifically cited the hostage crisis as to why he visited the PSCC. Abellera also raised the incident in his speech.
"This incident is a serious matter of compromising public safety, more so in the trust and confidence given by the people to the City Government of Davao in protecting its inhabitants from all forms of danger. If an incident will happen similar to the Manila hostage crisis, then Davao City could also be in the limelight of international criticism for its failure to coordinate its law enforcement agencies for the reason that its command center has no personnel on duty," Abellera said.
The City Council did not immediately approve that an inquiry be made over the PSCC.
City Councilor Melchor Quitain said he would object to an action from the City Council if this would double the responsibility of the executive branch.
"If the executive branch has already investigated on this then we better keep away from it. This office (PSCC) is directly under the City Mayor's Office and it would only duplicate the job," Quitain said.
Acting Vice Mayor Karlo Bello, appointed by Vice Mayor Duterte as the latter is on sick leave, said the City Council has the power to inquire in aid of legislation. After some clarification, no objections from the Council members were raised that there be an inquiry on the matter. (Jade C. Zaldivar)