Bill to strengthen private security industry filed in Congress

Published July 23, 2020, 8:17 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

Recognizing the role of security guards, watchmen, and other private security personnel as force multipliers in promoting public security and safety, leaders of the House of Representatives have filed a bill seeking to strengthen the private security industry.

MANILA BULLETIN FILE

Tingog SInirangan partylist Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez, chairperson of the House Committee on Welfare of Children, and House Majority Leader and Leyte 1st district Rep. Martin Romualdez filed House Bill No. 7037 or the proposed “Private Security Industry Act”, which provides for the regulation and supervision of the private security industry and the practice of security profession.

“Recognizing their very important role, this bill seeks to provide a mechanism to adapt to the changes in relation to the regulation and supervision of the private security industry and the practice of security profession,” Romualdezes said.

“Furthermore, this bill also provides safeguards for the public against private armies who are hiding behind the guise of private security agencies and are allegedly involved in various human rights violations and other violence,” they added.

They said the government should also ensure “safe and healthful working conditions” and promote gender-sensitive measures in the formulation and implementation of policies and programs affecting the local security work. Joining them in filing the bill is TUCP partylist Rep. Raymond Democrito Mendoza.

HB 7037 allows any Filipino citizen or a partnership, association, or corporation, including a one-person corporation, that is 100-percent owned and controlled by Filipino citizen, to organize a private security agency or a private detective agency, and provide security services.

Prohibited to hold any interest, directly or indirectly, in any private security agency are any elective or appointive government officials or employee and any person related to such government officials or employees within the third civil degree of affinity or consanguinity.

HB 7037 provides that any qualified Filipino citizen may apply for a license to be a private security professional and engage in the occupation, calling, or employment as a private security guard, private security officer, private detective, protection agent, or private security consultant, after completion and compliance with the academic, scholastic, skills, and training requirements as prescribed under the bill.

“The PNP Chief may prescribe and impose any additional requirements as may be deemed necessary to maintain the integrity and professional character of the security industry, and as public interest and safety requires,” it said.

According to the bill, a license to exercise security profession of duly qualified security guards shall be valid for a period of three years from the date of its issuance and security licenses issued prior to the effectivity of the proposed Act shall cease to be valid on its original date of expiry.

Under the bill, all persons employed as a private security professional must be a citizen of the Philippines; be a least 21 years old; have completed at least compulsory secondary education; be physically and mentally fit; have taken and completed a private security course or seminar, and underwent adequate skills training; possess good moral character and previously not convicted of any crime or offense involving moral turpitude; and pass the neuro-psychiatric test and drug test administered by the PNP or other similar government neuro-psychiatric and drug testing centers or facilities.

“A lack of a baccalaureate degree shall not impede the career advancements of private security personnel, it provides.

The bill prohibits the private security agency to offer or render services to gambling dens or other illegal enterprises, and any violation, or negligence, may be made a cause for suspension or revocation of the erring agency’s license to operate. The PNP Chief is authorized to suspend or cancel the license to operate of any private security agency, the measure provides.

Violators of the proposed Act shall be slapped with six years of imprisonment of and a P1 million or both at the discretion of the court and suspension or revocation of its license with forfeiture of the bond.

The PNP Chief, in strict consultation with Philippine Association of Detective and Protective Agency Operators, Inc. (PADPAO), representatives of national security guard cooperatives, stakeholders of the security industry, and other concerned government agencies, and subject to the provisions of existing laws, is tasked to to issue the implementing rules and regulations of the proposed Act within 180 days from its effectivity.

 
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