Filipino Lawmaker Wants Security Cameras On All ATM Machines

July 28, 2007 at 2:30 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

MANILA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / 28 Jul) – Catanduanes Representative Joseph Santiago has urged the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to compel the country’s three major automated teller machine service providers to install surveillance cameras around their ATMs as part of a security measure.

“If users cannot get any reprieve from excessive ATM charges, then regulators might as well rigorously require security cameras in every ATM location. This way, users will at least get enhanced security protection, and more value for the money they are being forced to pay for ATM services,” Santiago said in a statement sent Saturday to the Mindanao Examiner.

Over 18 million Filipinos are ATM cardholders. They are serviced mainly by the three major ATM network operators – Megalink Inc., Bancnet Inc. and ExpressNet Inc. – that group 58 universal, commercial and thrift banks. The three networks combined now have more than 6,000 ATMs nationwide.

“To begin with, banks are duty-bound to protect ATM users. In fact, we are surprised the BSP and local government units are not forcefully requiring banks to install surveillance equipment around their premises. This is supposed to be a basic and readily available security feature,” Santiago pointed out.

“This is not just about the increasing number of crimes around banks and ATMs. This is also about the community fighting crime. Every community member – whether an individual or a business entity – is supposed to help prevent crime,” Santiago said.

“Banks form part of the community. They should do their share and invest in deterring crime,” he added.

Police previously reported a rising incidence not only of bank robberies, but also of crimes victimizing ATM and credit cardholders.

The most widespread of these crimes involve robbers who entrap cab passengers, mostly women, who are then forced either to withdraw money (using their ATM or credit cards) from the nearest ATM location, or to surrender their cards and give their personal identification numbers.

For instance, Metro Manila’s Eastern Police District earlier reported that of the 168 bank offices in Pasig City alone, at least 18 were found to have no security cameras at all in their premises.

“We assumed from the start, when the BSP issued branch licenses to these banks, that they were required to install security cameras. So we find it puzzling that the police are now claiming that many branches still do not have the surveillance equipment,” Santiago said.

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