MANILA, Philippines – For wearing costumes that made them look like guards of Buckingham Palace in time for Christmas, 15 security guards of the Landmark department store in Makati City were fined P10,000 each by the Philippine National Police (PNP).
They were fined last Monday, November 5, as part of the new Oplan Agap Gwardya of the PNP Supervisory Office on Security and Investigation Agencies (SOSIA), which inspects guards at malls, banks, and other establishments.
“May information kami natanggap na ‘yung mga guwardiya ay ‘di nasa tamang uniform (We received information that the guards weren’t wearing their proper uniform),” SOSIA Enforcement Management Division acting chief Superintendent Jaime Santos told Rappler in a phone interview.
“Pinasuot lang daw sa kanila, pero violation kasi (They said they were only asked to wear the costumes, but it was a violation),” Santos added.
Why can’t the guards wear costumes? Republic Act No. 5487 or the Private Security Agency Law mandates that security guards have their own uniforms to set them apart from police and soldiers.
“The Chief, 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,” states Section 14 of the law.
The prescribed uniform for security personnel, said Santos, cannot be replaced as doing so could also compromise the safety of the public.
The risks according to the PNP SOSIA:
- Criminals could copy the guards’ costume and wear them while doing illegal activities.
- The public might not be able to differentiate guards from performers.
- The costumes could restrict the movement of the guards should they need to respond to an emergency.
The penalties: For the first violation, the PNP SOSIA will fine the guard and his or her security agency P10,000 each. For the second offense, police will impose a fine of P20,000 each, and for the third offense, P50,000 each.
Malls which would insist on the costumes would not be fined, Santos said, because the PNP SOSIA only regulates and supervises security agencies.
This is just the beginning: The crackdown of the PNP SOSIA will continue in other malls and establishments “all year round,” said Santos.
He added that Oplan Agap Gwardya was prompted by an order of new PNP Civil Security Group head Chief Superintendent Reynaldo Biay to check guards stationed at malls. – Rappler.com