By Martin Sadongdong
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde reminded on Friday security agencies to inform the Supervisory Office on Security and Investigation Agencies (SOSIA) first before allowing security guards to don costumes during the holiday season as it might be used by criminals as a tactic to do harmful acts.
Albayalde’s warning was issued after 15 security guards of a shopping mall in Makati City were reportedly fined P10,000 each by the PNP-SOSIA for wearing uniforms similar to guards at the Buckingham Palace as a means to give a festive mood in the area in time for the Christmas season.
“Well, nasa batas po talaga ‘yung prescribed uniform. ‘Yung mga security guard meron pong prescribed uniforms just like us (Well, [wearing] the prescribed uniform is stated in the law. Security guards have prescribed uniforms just like us),” Albayalde said.
“Even ‘yung ating kapulisan minsan nagco-costume ng Santa Claus or ‘yung hat man lang parang it attracts friendship sa mga mall-goers pero dapat ma-inform muna ang PNP-SOSIA na magsusuot ng costume (Even our cops sometimes wear Santa Claus costumes or [Christmas] hats since it attracts friendship to mallgoers but the PNP-SOSIA must be informed first about it),” he added.
Under Section 14 of Republic Act 5487 or the Private Security Agency Law, the “Chief of the Philippine Constabulary (now the PNP), through his duly authorized representative, shall prescribe the uniform or ornaments, equipment and paraphernalia to be worn by the security guards and watchmen throughout the Philippines.”
The PNP-SOSIA regulates the operations of security agencies, including keeping in check all the security guards detailed at different establishments across the country.
Albayalde said one of the hazards of changing the uniform of a security officer is that criminals can imitate this style and use it to attack establishments.
He added that in case of emergencies, the response of security guards might be restricted or limited because they are not easily identifiable.
The punishment to the 15 mall guards were handed out on Monday, according to a report, but Albayalde said he will talk to the SOSIA management first to discuss the matter.
“I will clear this one out to the chief of SOSIA [Chief Supt. Reczon Acabado] but it appears that they have issued a memorandum order related to this,” Albayalde explained.
The PNP chief was referring to Oplan Agap Gwardya issued by the PNP-SOSIA and the PNP-Civil Security Group (CSG) through a memorandum order in September 2018.
The order is aimed at disciplining all the security guards in the country, including checking whether they are in proper uniform and if they have licensed guns among others.
According to the SOSIA, the penalty for the first violation of the order is P10,000; P20,000 on the second offense and P50,000 on the third offense.
But Albayalde said he is willing to listen to the explanation of the security agency managing the security guards before handing out the punishment.
“Kung maganda naman po ‘yung reason, kung I think valid naman po, maliit na bagay po ‘yan. Pwedeng reprimand or pwedeng caution lang (If the reason of the [security agency] is valid, that’s a small issue. They can be reprimanded or cautioned only),” Albayalde stated.