Romualdez couples seeks benefits for sikyus

Martin Romualdez & Yedda Marie K. Romualdez
TINGOG party-list Rep. Yedda Marie K. Romualdez and her husband, House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez filed House Bill (HB) 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. Photos by VER NOVENO

TINGOG party-list Rep. Yedda Marie K. Romualdez and her husband, House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez on Wednesday sought the swift passage of their proposed law seeking to recognize the valuable contributions of security guards in securing the country’s peace and order by extending benefits to them such as study now, pay later program.

The Romualdez couple filed House Bill (HB) 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.

They stressed that the government should 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 Trade Union Congress of the Philippine (TUCP) party-list Rep. Raymond Democrito Mendoza.

The measure recognizes the role of security guards, watchmen, and other private security personnel as force multipliers in promoting public security and safety to strengthen the private security industry.

“The primary task of a security personnel is to provide protection to its clients against possible death, injuries, losses, damages and/or destruction of properties. 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,” the Romualdez couple 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,” the Romualdezes stressed.

Under Section 14 of the proposal, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and Philippine National Police (PNP) should help in the implementation of a “study now, pay later” program by any private security training institutions or public institutions duly accredited by the government for the training requirements of a security guard, watchman, or private detective as mandated by existing laws and regulations. “TESDA and PNP will coordinate to ensure that beneficiaries of study now, pay later scheme will undergo and finish additional training programs, courses, or training requirements including, but not limited to, specialized security guard courses, security officers training courses, whether specialized or not, detective training courses, and candidate protection agent courses,” they explained.

“The welfare of guards and watchmen, and the rights and interest of the institutions concerned must be taken into consideration in the crafting of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR),” the Romualdez couple said.
Rep. Yedda Marie is chairperson of the House committee on the welfare of children while Majority Romualdez is chairman of the powerful House committee on rules.

The measure under Section 13 also provides for Ladderized Training and Education Subsidy where security guards shall undergo a ladderized schedule or program for training requirements by any private security training institutions or public institutions duly accredited by the government.

“Private security institutions, which offer such ladderized schedule or program on training, courses, and programs to private security personnel, shall receive reasonable subsidy from the State through TESDA to insure professionalism among the private security personnel.

Provided, that only those training school, institute, academy, or educational institution with a valid license to operate and accredited by TESDA shall be able to receive the subsidy for the benefit of private security personnel enrolled in its facility,” they explained.

HB 7037 also 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,” the bill provides.

The measure 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 said.

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 issue the implementing rules and regulations of the proposed Act within 180 days