Accommodations Security Managers: Making It More Safe in the Philippines

Security managers of accommodation facilities are all geared up in improving the safety and security of their properties by working with one another and with the community.

This was the main objective of the Accommodation Establishments Security and Safety Coordinating Council, Inc. (AESSCCI) during its 2nd General Assembly last November 6 at the Networld Hotel Manila.

The assembly proved to be a good venue for learning and sharing of security and safety concerns and best practices in the accommodations industry. It was attended by members of the organization and security managers of different hotels and resorts.

Danny M Pineda, ASSCCI president, explains the security standards for accommodations facilities as prescribed by the Department of Tourism. (Photo by John Ray Ramos)

What is AESSCCI

AESSCCI is a successor of the Association of Hotel Security Officials of the Philippines (AHSOP), which was established in 1972 and has existed for 40 years. The old organization was restructured to conform to the new tourism law and to include all accommodation facilities thereby not limiting its membership to hotels.

The creation of Republic Act 9593 or the Tourism Law of 2009 brought about the change in AHSOP and called for the creation of a new organization to be inclusive of resorts and other accommodations facilities. Rule I Section 3 paragraph of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of this new law puts such facilities under primary tourism enterprises and defines “accommodation establishments such as, but not limited to, hotels, resorts, apartment hotels, tourist inns, motels, pension houses, private homes used for homestay, ecolodges, condotels, serviced apartments, and bed and breakfast facilities.” It is inclusive of all tourist accommodations establishments, big and small.

Nap Liong of the AESSCCI, and security manager of the Pan Pacific Hotel, told SecurityMatters that AESSCCI “serves as a channel [where] we can centralize our efforts and compare what is being emplaced in our respective hotels in terms of systems and procedures and its execution and implementation. We compare and come up with the best practices. And these best practices would be translated [to] a common practice of all hotel members in the preservation of life and property as an objective and goal of a security department.”

He added, “If we say sharing of security and safety best practices, we are gearing towards protecting our own property, our own guests and of course our employees.”

Police Senior Superintendent Allen B. Bantolo answers a question from a security manager. The PNP is working together with AESSCCI in enhancing the security of accommodation facilities. (Photo by John Ray Ramos)

Working Together

Asked whether competition among hotels is a consideration, Liong said, “We are as one in terms of protecting our property and the life inside the property.”

Liong explained that “one of the qualifications of a good security and safety system is that there should be a networking on line agencies.” He enumerated that those include the police, fire stations, armed forces, and intelligence agencies.

Also during the general assembly, there was a presentation on how—because of information sharing—criminal elements that victimized properties and guests were monitored and apprehended. Even hotel skippers or those who are not paying are caught and made to pay.

AESSCCI president Danny M. Pineda, who presented the security standardization and the new Department of Tourism accreditation rating in the assembly, noted that such accomplishments could only be achieved if accommodations would coordinate their efforts and cooperate with each other to catch bad elements trying to victimize their guests inside and outside their facilities.

Pineda shared, “It is also a good deterrent because if people will know that you cannot go to any of our properties without being identified, detected or arrested, then we lessen the chances of crimes being committed.” He also added, “It is also a good selling point that a hotel is safe and secured.”

Also present was Police Senior Superintendent Allen B. Bantolo of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Intelligence Group who gave a short presentation on Tourists Security and Safety and Terrorism Threat — Partnering With The Public.

A security manager raises a question for discussion. (Photo by John Ray Ramos)

Future Plans

Pineda disclosed the organization’s plans, “Our plan is to educate our hoteliers on security and safety. This could be done through our awareness efforts, security education. And then professionalize our members, our security officers and managers.”

AESSCCI is also set to hold a certification course on hotel and resort safety and security from January 14 to March 6, 2013.

Pineda said that the course intended to make members and other security professionals in the country be globally competitive, and for their properties to be able to comply to the standards of government and corporate clients who are very demanding on the requirements for the safety and security of guests.

“We want to reach out to smaller ones who have no professional security departments or managers. And together with the DOT, we will reach out; share our experiences, our techniques to them. So that when tourists or hotel guests, wherever they go, they are assured of same protection that they get from hotels of big properties” said Pineda.

He also said, “We want also to be prepared for the expected boom in the industry.” He noted that the number of guests in hotels and tourist destinations around the country is increasing. With such scenario, he suggested, “We have to address the possible security concerns that may arise.”

Unknown to the public, there is no competition when it comes to providing security and safety of accommodation facilities. AESSCCI provides a venue for security managers to share best practices in protecting their properties, guests, and employees from criminal elements. The organization and its members work hard and work hand in hand in making their accommodations safer for those who would like to have more fun in the Philippines.