Illustration by J. C. SantosEfforts to prevent crimes on campus have just gone hi-tech.

School officials have invested at least P3 million for the purchase of 12 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras mounted mostly to monitor road intersections within the university. More cameras will be installed in every building by the end of the year.

“The installation of these cameras was solely for the security and safety of Thomasians,” said Fr. Roberto Pinto O.P., head of the Facilities Management Office (FMO).

Installed near the CCTV cameras are loud speakers that play background music when not used for public announcements. Playlist includes the UST Hymn, Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, and Pachelbel’s Canon in D.

Pinto said school officials came up with the idea of CCTV cameras considering student’s tendency to leave their valuables unattended.

Such pieces of equipment are widely used, especially abroad, to aid police track down criminals. But civil rights activists have also raised concerns that CCTV cameras might violate individual privacy, an issue that is yet to be raised in the case of UST.

All on tape

In an earlier report of the Varsitarian, Pinto disclosed that the cameras were “rather hi-tech,” and capable of recording video or capturing digital stills, recording from which could not be erased in the system.

In the same article, Security Office chief, Joseph Badinas noted that the new installations would make it easier for security guards to gather information. But he admitted that the new technology required proper training for his men.

Thomasians Karen Gaceja and Maureen Fajardo welcomed the CCTV cameras.

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Gaceja, a Nutrition and Dietetics sophomore, believed that UST officials should work on the installation of cameras on every building to increase the level of security in the area.

“It was actually a good (idea) by the administration,” she said.

Fajardo, a second-year Commerce student, acknowledged the “double effort” that officials were putting on Thomasians’ safety.

Fajardo, a Commerce sophomore, added: “Since many people—not only Thomasians—are around the campus, these CCTV cameras would be really helpful in ensuring the security of the students.”

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