House passes bill requiring PUVs to install CCTV, GPS

The House of Representatives, through viva voce voting, approved on second reading this week House Bill 6112, which requires operators of public utility vehicles (PUVs) to install closed-circuit television (CCTV) and Global Positioning System (GPS) to deter crime and gather the necessary information to help prosecute criminals.

The bill declares it is the policy of the State to ensure the safety of its citizens, particularly the public transport users, from criminal activity such as theft, robbery, homicide, kidnapping and the like, hence the need to install CCTV and GPS tracker on PUVs.

The bill titled Public Utility Vehicle Monitoring Act refers to CCTV as an electronic communications system equipped with a video camera or video cameras, capable of recording and storing signals or digital information and connected to a monitor or set of monitors designed to perform surveillance over a limited area.

Meanwhile, it refers to GPS tracker as an electronic communications device that uses the GPS to determine, track and record its precise location, or of anything on which it is attached or mounted, at regular intervals.

No PUV shall be allowed to operate on any road or highway without the required CCTV and GPS tracker, installed, duly authenticated, and sealed by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), the bill provides.

A minimum of two units of CCTV shall be installed for every type of PUV. Replacement of damaged or stolen CCTV or GPS tracker must undergo the same process of installation, authentication and sealing.

The PUV shall be required to display a written notice boldly displayed in conspicuous locations outside and inside the body of the PUV to inform the passengers that the PUV is equipped with CCTV and GPS tracker.

No operator shall be granted a Certificate of Public Convenience without complying with these requirements. Operators of PUVs, which are already in operation prior to the effectivity of the Act, shall comply with the requirements upon renewal of registration or not later than six months from the promulgation of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Act, whichever comes earlier.

The LTFRB, in coordination with the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Bureau of Product Standards, shall provide for the specifications and standards of the required GPS tracker and CCTV, including the storage device which must be capable of recording at least 30 calendar days of information before being overridden by subsequent ones.

The LTFRB Central Office and its Regional Offices shall establish, maintain and manage a GPS tracking server and an archive of all CCTV recordings of PUVs which are subject of complaints filed before it and of PUVs involved in traffic accidents.

The LTFRB, in coordination with the Land Transportation Office (LTO), shall likewise, establish, maintain and manage a GPS tracking server and archive to be manned by authorized LTO personnel in LTO offices located in strategic areas for data gathering and to ensure the effective monitoring of every registered PUV.

The confidentiality of the videos and other information captured by and stored in the CCTV shall be maintained. Unless authorized by the Act, the use, viewing, disclosure or publication of the contents of the storage device, whether in whole or in part, is prohibited.

Upon official written request or electronic mail by a law enforcement agency, its agents shall be granted access to a particular GPS tracking record of the subject vehicle during the conduct of a criminal, administrative, or traffic investigation or police operation.

The following penalties shall be imposed upon the offender who is found to have committed the following punishable acts:

a) A fine of P5,000 for the first offense; P10,000 for the second offense; and P15,000

for the third offense shall be imposed on any person who

1. Operates or allows another to operate a PUV without a working CCTV or GPS tracker, or without the required devices installed and sealed by the LTFRB;

2. tampers with the CCTV or GPS tracker;

3. operates or allows another to operate a PUV with a tampered CCTV or GPS tracker;

4. fails to bring the PUV for purposes of removing the storage device of the CCTV or copying the contents thereof upon the order of the LTFRB, or

5. fails to comply with the requirement of installation of CCTV and GPS tracker as provided in the Act.

The offender's driver's license, or franchise as the case may be, shall be suspended for 30 days, upon the fourth offense; 90 days upon the fifth offense; and 180 days for the sixth offense.

For the subsequent offense, the franchise or driver's license of the offender shall be revoked or cancelled.

b) Penalty of imprisonment from one year to three years and a fine ranging from P100,000 to P2 million shall be imposed upon any person, who not being authorized:

1. publishes or broadcasts or causes to be published or to be broadcast, in whatever medium, any video or information stored or recorded in the CCTV of a PUV; or

2. sells or distributes or causes to be sold or distributed any such recorded or stored video or information.

c) In addition to administrative penalties and damages, if applicable, a penalty of imprisonment ranging from one year to three years and a fine ranging from P100,000 to P2 million shall be imposed upon:

1. Any public officer or government agent, who releases, gives or transmits to another any stored or recorded CCTV footage or information obtained by reason of an authorized criminal, administrative or traffic investigation or police operation, except when circumstances warrant media distribution to help identify and locate the whereabouts of a suspect or suspects of a crime or to protect the welfare of the public in cases involving heinous crimes;

2. Any law enforcement agent who, by force, intimidation, or any other means, gains access to the GPS tracking server without the authority from the requesting agency as provided under the Act;

3. Any officer of the LTFRB or LTO charged with the custody of archived video footages or information who releases or transmits the same to persons not authorized to have access to or gain possession of such video footages or information; or

4. Any officer of the LTFRB or LTO charged with the maintenance of GPS tracking server who allows any unauthorized person to gain access to the tracking server or particular GPS tracking record.

The offenses punishable under subsections b) and c) shall be prosecuted in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act No. 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012 and other applicable laws.

Authors of the bill include Reps. Mariano Michael Velarde, Jr., Emmeline Aglipay-Villar, Winston "Winnie" Castelo, Rozzano Rufino Biazon, Eric Olivarez, Cesar Sarmiento, Gavini Pancho, Peter Unabia, Edgar Mary Sarmiento, Ferjenel Biron M.D., Deputy Speakers Gwendolyn Garcia and Romero Quimbo, Reps. Vicente "Ching" Veloso, Fernando Gonzalez, Victoria Isabel Noel, Mark Aeron Sambar, Johnny Pimentel, Estrellita Suansing, Micaela Violago and Sherwin Tugna.

Source: House of Representatives

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