Agencies that won't arm guards could lose license
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine National Police is bent on canceling licenses of security agencies that will not require their guards to bear firearms while on duty.
PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima said there will be "no mercy" this time as perception escalates that they cannot control crime incidences.
"We will be more strict on this. Hindi na tayo maaawa ngayon," he said.
Ramon Vergado, president of the security agencies' umbrella organization Philippine Association of Detective and Protective Agency Operators (PADPAO), said mall owners do not want security guards to carry guns.
However, he said security agencies will have to follow the PNP's orders.
"It should be the public interest that shall prevail," he said.
Contrary to the belief of gunless society groups, Purisima said he believes more armed guards would boost peace and order in establishments since would-be criminals will be hesitant in facing armed security guards.
"Dati naman ang mga security guards may baril din naman. Did they scare people? Hindi naman di ba?" he said.
Gunless Society of the Philippines founder Nandy Pacheco said many guards may not have the proper skills and maturity in handling firearms.
He clarified that they are not against authorities bringing guns but said security guards do not have the same training given to policemen and military personnel.
"Kung hindi sanay ang gwardya, there might be more trouble. Baka iba tamaan," he said.
According to the Philippine National Police Supervisory Office for Security and Investigative Agencies (PNP-SOSIA), guards are required to carry the standard 38mm or 9mm pistols while bank guards and armored car security should carry shotguns.
SOSIA Chief PCSupt. Tomas Rentoy III said that, aside from the 5-day specialized mall training course, they are inclined to give a yearly training in addition to the training that will also be given by the respective private agencies.
Purisima said the training ensures that armed security guards will be responsible with their firearms.
"Hindi pwedeng may baril pero di alam gamitin. Baka iba tamaan. Dapat asintado," he said.
According to the PNP, the Philippines has 500,000 security guards, which is more than the combined forces of the military and the police.
Today, the PNP met with security officers of malls and universities to reiterate their policies and regulations as force multipliers of the government.
The PNP also introduced a mall security manual that will be distributed to agencies and its commissioned security guards.
Crimes in malls
Purisima said the jewelry store robbery in SM Megamall last Saturday and the shooting incident in Robinsons Magnolia yesterday are minor compared to crimes that they have prevented thus far.
"Dati bombarded tayo with kidnappings and carnappings, but do you see these things ngayon? Hindi na because the police acted on it," he said.
He added that because of their efforts against larger crimes, criminals are now left with small time robberies.
"They are on softer targets because we build up security sa higher targets," he said.
"Yung sa SM nga hindi nila alam kung alin ang mahal sa murang alahas na kinuha nila eh," he added.
He said that based on their records, the crime rate dropped this January. He did not give details of the crime statistics.
Higher trust rating
Purisima also boasted that the PNP has hit an all-time high trust rating of 50% in the recent Social Weather Stations survey.
He said the higher rating is a morale booster especially since it is the highest trust rating the force had received since the SWS started in 1998.
"It's a new source of energy and motivation," Purisima said.
The survey was conducted from December 8-11 last year, before the Atimonan Quezon shooting, SM Megamall heist, and other crimes happened.
Asked if criminals are posing a challenge to their strength as a police force, Purisima answered: "Huwag po tayo patatangay sa emosyon. We just do our job, and everything will fall into place."