Guards at home: sign of troubled times?

By Miguel C. Gil

There are an increasing number of Filipino households that are seeking out the services of private security companies to deter criminality. This observation was made by veteran security instructor Librado Cayco, Sr., who is training director of TASK Security Academy, Inc., one of the country’s leading schools for private security guards. While precise figures are unavailable, he revealed that TASK-affiliated security agencies have recently been accepting more residential clients.

More competent guards: These working guards are seeking to level-up their skills by taking-up advanced classes at the TASK Academy. (Photo by IGG)
More competent guards: These working guards are seeking to level-up their skills by taking-up advanced classes at the TASK Academy. (Photo by IGG)

TASK has been striving to produce better graduates in order to meet the ever-growing needs of both commercial and residential customers, Cayco said. He explained that the private security industry has long suffered from too many unqualified guards. He lamented that the spike in demand for uniformed guards or “blue guards” as they are locally called, have prompted many security agencies to deploy hurriedly and poorly trained personnel. But he added that recent changes in the industry will make this a thing of the past.

Home Defense Journal (HDJ) recently had the opportunity to visit the TASK campus at 14th Avenue, Quezon City, to see first-hand how armed guards are trained. This particular class did not consist of first-time trainees, but working guards who had come back to school seeking higher certificates of competency. Cayco explained that working guards who aspire for promotion and higher pay need to undergo further schooling.

Hands on: Cayco teaching a crash-course on bomb disposal as the author looks on. Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) made from artillery shells are supposedly the preferred weapon of terrorists. (Photo by IGG)
Hands on: Cayco teaching a crash-course on bomb disposal as the author looks on. Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) made from artillery shells are supposedly the preferred weapon of terrorists. (Photo by IGG)

Modern training doctrines are evidently trying to keep up with contemporary threats. The class we observed, which was mostly made-up of mall guards, was learning all about basic bomb identification and disposal techniques! Global terrorism has prompted the more progressive security training schools to teach these potentially life-saving techniques, according to Cayco.

Efforts to further professionalize the private security industry are underway, TASK’s training director insisted. Producing quality guards entail highly specialized training to better meet the needs of prospective clients. All guard candidates must undergo the basic training as a prerequisite to becoming a licensed guard, but training specific to their areas of deployment will eventually be needed, we were told.

Practical Business: Cayco along with two TASK graduates, Mar Fabro (extreme left) and Roque (extreme right) were guests on the GNN talk show Practical Business with Miguel Gil. They discussed careers in private security.(Photo by IGG)
Practical Business: TASK head Cayco, along with private security practitioners Mar Fabro (extreme left) and Roque Alojado, Jr. (extreme right) were guests on the GNN talk show Practical Business with Miguel Gil last September 19. They discussed careers in private security. (Photo by IGG)

The Supervisory Office for Security and Investigation Agencies of the Philippine National Police (PNP-SOSIA) is the government oversight body for the private security industry.  But like any state regulator, it is apparently focused mainly on licensing and accreditation… in other words, on the collection of fees. The burden of raising professional standards, therefore, falls largely on the shoulders of industry players themselves.

Today, there are separate courses for residential security, commercial security, industrial security, high-rise security, hotel security and VIP security, among others. For the licensed security guard, competence in these specific fields brings not only the promise of better wages but also job opportunities abroad. For instance, piracy in international waters has opened many doors in the maritime security industry… and Filipinos are reportedly filling up the job vacancies.

Clearly, private security is no longer the compromise job for the unemployed and unemployable! Poorly trained guards are seen to make way for skilled professionals. If HDJ’s visit to TASK was any indication, then homeowners who can afford the extra cost of hiring a security guard can sleep more soundly at night!

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