In the last few days, thousands of people travelled to the provinces to observe All Saints’ Day, flocking to bus terminals, airports, and ports. In a few weeks even thousands more will be squeezing through and into transport hubs, malls, and hotels as the Yuletide season descends upon us.
Last Oct. 26, the Philippine National Police – Supervisory Office for Security and Investigation Agencies (PNP-SOSIA) held a coordinating conference with hotel and mall security managers at the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame as part of the preparations for their collaborative security efforts in anticipation of the waves of people that will gather at malls and hotels for the coming holidays.
The initial briefing was a threat assessment of the national peace and order situation and the crime and security environment of the metro and other major cities and provinces. The presentation showed that crime trends have decreased in general but mall and hotel security should still be bolstered, because criminal gangs in the metro have been known to target malls and hotels during the holiday season. In addition, the security managers were also made aware of emerging and existing terrorist groups in the south that may target areas in major cities, which are densely populated. The presentation closed by citing the successful efforts of the PNP against the Abu Sayyaf group, which led to a release of the bandit group’s abductees.
A comprehensive assessment on the threat of terrorism followed, which included a framework for security protocols during special and national events. The presentation highlighted a security and safety strategy which would involve various, if not all, security managers for hotel and mall companies. Integrated operations requiring multi-agency collaboration was also proposed, closing with a broad discussion on the upcoming ASEAN summit next year.
During a briefing on bomb threat management, a thorough presentation on bomb threats, bomb jokes, and a full discussion on procedures and strategies for evacuation, explosions, and threat confirmation were delivered.
The NCRPO then discussed the creation of Manila Shield Alpha, a counter-terrorism protocol, which intensified and created specialized teams to combat terrorist activity. These teams are spread out across key areas manned by especially trained officers. Simulation exercises were presented to the security managers as part of the proposal.
Ensuring security and safety for hotel guests and shopping mall patrons is the ultimate objective for security providers; making sure patrons are free from any threats is a sign of a job well done.