By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

NO CHRISTMAS COSTUMES. PNP personnel hold an inspection of security guards at a mall in this undated photo. The PNP on Thursday (Dec. 21, 2023) warned security agencies and establishments to do away with the practice of making security guards wear Christmas costumes and giving them non-security tasks. (Photo courtesy of PNP SOSIA)

MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday warned security agencies and establishments to do away with the practice of making security guards wear Christmas costumes.

In a press briefing at Camp Crame, Quezon City, PNP Supervisory Office for Security and Investigation Agencies (SOSIA) chief Brig. Gen. Gregory Bogñabal said this is to deter criminals who might disguise themselves using Christmas costumes in carrying out illegal activities.

“Kapag sinabing proper uniform, yan yung standard uniform ng isang guwardiya (When we say proper uniform, we mean the standard uniform of a guard), nothing more, nothing less. Mahirap din natin ma-identify kaagad kung sino siya kasi walang nakalagay na nameplate, ID (It would also be hard for us to quickly identify who the guards are because they don’t have a nameplate, ID). So that’s why we discourage using that type of uniform aside from the mandated standard uniform, para tayo mismo kahit hindi lang yung mga supervisors, kahit yung mga PNP na nagmo-monitor but even the civilians. At one glance, alam mo na kaagad na siya ay guwardiya kasi nakikita mo yung typical guard uniform na yun ang kadalasang ginagamit nila with ID (so that us, not only the supervisor or the PNP who monitors but also the civilians. At one glance, they would know who the guards are because you see their typical guard uniform because that is what they usually wear together with an ID),” Bogñabal said.

He also said wearing of these costumes might hamper the response of security guards during emergency situations as they cannot be easily identified.

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.”

Col. Merquiodi Bodanio, SOSIA enforcement management division chief, warned that security guard officers caught wearing themed costumes will be fined PHP500 to PHP 1,000 while the security agencies will be fined PHP10,000 for the first offense and PHP20,000 for the second offense.

Aside from the fines for each security guard, the agency handling them will also be fined and will be subject to administrative investigation.

The security agency will be at risk of having its permit to operate canceled in case of repeated violations.

Bongñabal said guards should not be tasked to perform other duties which include serving as parking attendants, utility workers or service crew.

He said security guards’ basic functions are to patrol their specific areas, report all unusual incidents and events, control the entry and exits of their guests, as well as the vehicles, and facilitate the systematic traffic flow of their area of responsibility.

They also assist the public who need assistance within their area of responsibility and to report to the police any incidents related to crime or other occurrences and must remember that security guards are force multipliers, he added.

The PNP-SOSIA regulates the operations of security agencies, including keeping in check all the security guards detailed at different establishments across the country. (PNA)