Setting New Standards in Abject Failure: PNP Hires a Security Firm to Protect its Headquarters

philippine+police+shitbrixIn a stunning move that even the Administration-friendly Inquirer couldn’t help itself from calling an “irony of ironies”, the Philippine National Police announced it had earmarked P21 million to contract a private security firm (still unnamed) to provide security services at Camp Crame, the PNP’s national headquarters.

PNP Director Alan Purisima explained the move as a way to move more officers into patrol duties, and as a financial benefit, since the average private security guard earns less than the P18,000 a month typically paid to an officer with the bottom-of-the-totem-pole rank of Police Officer 1 (PO1).

The Inquirer article also includes this little gem, which is one of those jokes that writes itself:

“The idea of hiring private security guards to help protect Camp Crame was first broached in March 2008 by then PNP Director General Avelino Razon Jr.

Razon had said the project to hire private guards was part of the PNP’s anticriminality program by boosting police presence in the streets.

Razon is now detained at the PNP Custodial Center in connection with graft charges.”

What is truly mind-boggling about this latest brain wave from the country’s law enforcement establishment (following such genius solutions as restricting the sale of hammers and banning the wearing of caps or sunglasses inside Metro Manila malls) is how oblivious it is to the PNP’s – and by extension, the Philippines on the whole – image. Fairly or not, the country has a reputation both within and without of being a lawless place, and an admittance that the 150,000-strong national police force is incapable of effectively using its own resources to secure its own headquarters does absolutely nothing to dispel public safety concerns.

Of course, this is the same PNP that has to ceremonially seal the barrels of its officers’ guns every holiday season to prevent them from acting like three-year-olds on New Year’s Eve, and has reported at least two theft incidents inside Camp Crame itself in the past couple of weeks, so manning the defenses with minimum-wage rent-a-cops armed with rusty .38 revolvers might actually be a step up.

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About BenK

I write a column for The Manila Times on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Most of the energy sector and the heads of several government agencies probably wish I didn't.

43 Comments on “Setting New Standards in Abject Failure: PNP Hires a Security Firm to Protect its Headquarters”

  1. Why not hire other private companies to run the whole government too. From the executive down. That would be great. No politicians to run the country. Just plain old contractual guy, accountable to his paymaster….. wait, that should be how the government is supposed to be run anyway…….

    1. Not exactly. In the private sector, the person running the company is supposed to be ACCOUNTABLE to the company’s employees and the customers they serve. If that person proves to be ineffectual or incapable of doing the job, he or she is fired. It isn’t about being a “temp job” or “contractual employee.” Sadly, in government and/or public service, employees become entrenched and even pass on their positions to their relatives and heirs. That must not be allowed to continue.

  2. This is stupid (that’s the simplest and most condensed thing I can say about how I feel about this issue).

    Maybe we should just sell the government, and the country as well, to private citizens that actually know what they are doing, like Henry Sy, Lucio Tan (or not), Jaime Zobel de Ayala, and those other billionaires of our country.

    1. “…Maybe we should just sell the government, and the country as well”

      Who in their right mind would knowingly want to buy a defective product?

  3. This scheme of hiring a private contractor to perform security at PNP facilities is reminiscent of the United States’ policy of hiring private armies to conduct security operations for the Department of State and on behalf of the US Military. The objective being to allow their military elements to focus on the main task of “fighting the ‘War on Terror'”.

    Both cases overlook the fact that properly defining these organisations’ focus and narrowing their mission scope is the best course of action. First, this ensures that already limited resources are not stretched to their limit and excesses — such as the hiring of duplicate personnel for example — are avoided. Second, it enables you to become a more professional organisation with a clearly defined role and weeds out incompetents.

    1. In the case of the PNP, it wouldn’t be so bad if they were just spread too thin. But before they became spread too thin, they were incompetent already to begin with.

      Even if they had enough personnel on them, that they could adequately defend themselves, much less serve and protect the country, is already a big debatable notion.

      1. True — PNP personnel have proven themselves to be singularly incompetent. It’s because of this that I believe in the need to re-evaluate their mission and their capabilities as well as their training. A ground-up rebuilding.

  4. As radio commentator Ted Failon asked this morning, so if a crime is committed inside Camp Crame, will the guards have to call the police? It’s really more fun(ny) in the Philippines!

    1. Ted Failon’s facetiousness also misses the point. If it is a crime, obviously the police will be the ones to handle it. Because the PNP proposal remains unclear, police performance underwhelming, the whole matter is just open to ridicule by a self-righteous pundits who are no better at solving society’s problems than the rest of the hoi polloi.

  5. Its actually cost and operationally effective. Facility protection and access control is handled by private security so more cops will be on the streets. For example; in Iraq and Afghanistan, Force Protection (facility security) of Embassies, Consulates & Regional Embassy Offices and US Military Bases were (and still is) carried out by Private Military Contractors so the actual Sailors, Soldiers, Marines and Airmen can focus on “more important” tasks like fighting the bad guys… However, this is the PNP we’re talking about, so actually “convincing” cops to get their fat asses on the street and do some real cop shit is another huge hurdle in and of itself.

    1. They’re talking about a staffing need that involves maybe 12-15 personnel. Would it really make a dent in their available “on the street” manpower to handle that themselves (at, it should be noted, no additional P21 million cost to taxpayers)?

      1. well we have to compute. How much does it take to train and pay the salary/benefits of 15 extra cops versus the cost of the contract and do we need more cops on the street versus guarding the hq?

      2. Nope. Insofar as manpower on the street, I don’t think it will make a dent at all. In fact, I think it will give more of these fat lazy cops a reason to sit on their collective asses and do the same thing they have been doing all along which is nothing. My point was the model itself. However, no matter if its 15, 150 or 1,500 personnel; this model will FAIL here in the Philippines.

        I should clarified by saying “its cost effective ELSEWHERE…”. This is the Philippines. The only thing that seems to be cost effective in theory and practice is corruption.

        I just wanted to let you guys know that there is already a model for this in place and it has worked. But hey! The Philippines (for the most part) can’t even make the get concept of traffic lights to work here.

    2. @ JETLAG, U got it all figured out,huh?

      OMG!!!!…..its called ‘outsourcing’ and you do not even realize it. Do you think the chumps that are going to be replacing the PNP are going to be making more Peso’s than those being replaced???

      PNP wages= P18,000/month= the most poorly paid police force in the world, the PNP…. and they are still seeing their jobs ‘outsourced’…OMG Jetlag….buy yourself a clue!

      1. Well Gerry, from (late ’03 to ’07) I have worked for 3 Private Military Contractors in Iraq & Afghanistan; DynCorp, Blackwater and Aegis as a PSD Operator and Team Leader. During that time (as is now), most “non-combat” duties were “outsourced” (yes, I know what outsourcing is) to civilian contractors in order to ensure more Military manpower could be tasked to essential duties. My point is that the model of this type of outsourcing has been in use (elsewhere) for quite some time. However, as I originally stated, this being the Philippines, the Government/PNP will find some “creative” way to fuck it up completely.

        Further, it doesn’t matter how much the Security Guards tasked for Force Protection (PNP) make. Of course they will be paid peanuts and of course they’ll have just as much training as “mall guards” which means Camp Crame will become an easier target. As for actual wages; how much do you think a Security Guard in the Philippines makes in a month? Did you catch THAT clue?

        In short, I agree with the policy in theory since it has and is still working elsewhere but, I DO NOT think it will work here. Since the Lunetta Hostage Fiasco, I have been convinced that the PNP is completely ineffective and will be unable to carry out its mandate until such time as the entire police force is purged of all personnel and starts again from scratch.

        1. @ Jetlag, OK, so do U think these replacement workers are going to be paid anywhere near what U were making working for Blackwater/Aegis etc,etc? (if,in fact U actually worked 4 them…). Keep in mind we do not know each other and can only really comment on what WE actually know, which is: the PNP is outsourcing the officers it is keeping at wherever these guys are going to be replaced, Camp Crame?. Which raises another interesting question: who will get the contract to replace them? Wackenhut, a complete minimum wage joke of a security company (currently paying guards in front of the U.S. embassy in Manure)? or someone like a Blackwater or Aegis who supply top security personnel in sensitive positions globally?
          HHHMMM…..

          SO WE KNOW:
          These ‘replacement’ workers: A) supplant a recognized contract with the PNP(U think the NYPD’s Union ,the PBA, would ever tolerate such a move?) to do a job that is supposed to be done by ‘trained’ personel hired by the gov’t. to do THAT job, not someone else. B)are going to be guarding a sensitive gov’t. facility which is another cause for alarm away from the fact that it is the PNP’s job to do so and is supplanting the recognized contract.

          I suspect that it is a move to get people whose wages are far below what they should be already and to get around hiring more PNP personnel that are allegedly to ‘expensive’, much like the PAL employees whose case was thrown in the garbage at the Corona trial(it should be noted that that part of the impeachment proceedings were the MOST damming part of the gov’t.’s case against Corona and could have landed him in prison which is why it was thrown out of the case.). What a fucking joke, a pathetically paid police force replaced by lower paid personel to guard a sensitive gov’t. installation?

          It could be stated that the Philippines really doesn’t need a police force anyway since if their is any real civil unrest the gov’t. would have to seek outside help to quell the disturbance and it would have to be done in a way that would be deemed ‘national security’ so as to make foreign intervention more palatable to those making the request and those doing the intervening.
          SO:
          This looks like an attempt to get a slob to work for less money than the already pathetically paid PNP, which is criminal to begin with, BUT IF IT IS NOT? what is really going on then? Security from an outside agency to do a job a Filipino can not be trusted to do? I doubt that very much.
          Find a slob to work for nothing…disgusting and it will serve them right when something goes dreadfully wrong there and the idiot hired can’t even load his weapon, never mind fire it. If ur lucky, U get what U pay for.

        2. @Gerry… First and foremost, do not judge US PMCs by the few negative incidents which gain high exposure in the news. The news agencies only report the “bad” incidents like the Blackwater PSD Team (convoy) which fired on civilians in Baghdad. What they DON’T report are things like Tripple Canopy holding the CPA bldg in Al Kut during a 3 day battle with Shia Militia without Military support.Or Blackwater doing the same at the CPA in Ramadi, etc…

          I did NOT say nor suggest anywhere in anyone of my comments that I would expect or believe said guards to be paid anywhere near the amount we were paid (First Country National Rate) so the answer to your first question is a resounding NO! Of course NOT! Absolutely NOT! I was using the MODEL as an example. So, just for the sake of this discussion, leave out the remote possibility that any US Based PMC would bid or even be awarded this contract. You should already know that the security company which IS awarded the contract will be owned or connected with the top brass at the PNP.

          It seems you’re missing my point/s entirely. So I will try to state them again for the hard of hearing…
          1) The “model” of outsourcing Force Protection duties has and still works fine in OTHER countries under similar circumstances.
          2) Said “model” will NOT work here in the Philippines because of the variables involved such as; corruption, lack of training, lack of resources, lack of equipment, lack of knowledge, lack of discipline, lack of oversight, etc. These can be applied to the PNP and any Security Company in this country (this does NOT include foreign operated Security Consultancy Firms).

          “This looks like an attempt to get a slob to work for less money than the already pathetically paid PNP, which is criminal to begin with…” YES! Absolutely CORRECT. If this were the US or any other “western country”, the model would have every chance for success but… (and I’m saying this for the 3rd time on this thread so PLEASE READ AND UNDERSTAND)this is the Philippines where even the most simplest of ideas and/or procedures are doomed to fail because of the points listed above.

          You don’t realize it but we are both arguing from the same side of the fence. All I am doing is pointing out how the “model” has and does work ELSEWHERE (not the Philippines)… As for my employment and/or Military background; I really don’t care what you believe. I’m not here with anything to prove; I’m just stating what I have seen and experienced over the years.

        3. @Jetlag…I’m not judging the Balckwaters of the world. They are apparently well-paid professionals compared to the PNP or its replacements. The point made here is a pattern of taking jobs away from people who need them while at the same time ignoring a contract, both social and legal, that undermines the people who are supposed to be doing a certain job. it has a devastating effect on an already devastated population. IDK what the people replacing the PNP will be paid or who will get the contract/jobs….that is another can of worms entirely.
          I do not agree with ‘outsourcing’ of jobs anywhere or for any reason. If the thieves stopped thieving there would be enough to pay the people who are contractually supposed to be doing that job, just like the PAL employees got screwed. When ‘outsourcing’ comes to a 3rd world country like the Philippines, where people are paid dog-shit wages to begin with under the guise of ‘limited resources’ you know there are some greedy ass scrounging thieves behind it.

      2. @Gerry
        “When ‘outsourcing’ comes to a 3rd world country like the Philippines, where people are paid dog-shit wages to begin with under the guise of ‘limited resources’ you know there are some greedy ass scrounging thieves behind it.”

        I see your point and agree wholeheartedly.

  6. well look at it this way. the philippines needs more policemen but has little money. Every policeman costs more to train and has a higher salary/benefits than a security guard. Every policeman on guard duty is one policeman doing something other than protecting the public. This way our tax money and the limited police manpower is freed up to fight crime while letting other people worry about HQ security

    people who play games like starcraft or command and conquer know that every unit guarding your base is a wasted unit that could be out shooting the opponent

    1. @ VINCE, if the scamming politicians coughed up the billions of peso’s they have stolen there would be enough to give ALL PNP officers raises to near 1st world police level wages.

      DO you really believe that the gov’t. is broke? and if they are, do you even know WHY?

      OMG, that anyone even believes a word that comes out of these liars mouths is really just un-frikkin-believable! HOLY CHIT!

      1. @vince

        maybe we should just abolish the PNP then

        The PNP itself is turning out to be the extra fat—the redundancy that only drains taxpayers money. But why can’t they just shape-up or clean-up the PNP? How could it come to this—How did we end up practically policing the police?—What a duck-tape solution I fear may turn out to be permanent!

        1. Duct tape? OMG, its called ‘outsourcing’ and finding a cheaper slave to do the job is what is being done here!OMG,”Check, I mean, CLUE PLEASE!”, U just cant make this shit up!

      2. @ vince, I know this may be a bit our of context, instead of abolishing the PNP, why not include the PNP on the MIlitary, like back in the days of the Police Constabulary (PC), My father use to be one.

  7. I think, it would be cheaper, if they hire
    “istambays” as security guards, at the PNP Headquarters.

    It is the most idiotic ideas, I’ve heard. It means, they cannot protect themselves. How can they protect us all?

    I would like to kick the rear of that PNP Chief. He does not deserve to there in his position…he wants to steal…

  8. I’m quite surprised that they didn’t turn to the good ol’ US of A to provide them with security services unless said security firm is Academi or Northrop which I’m guessing isn’t too far off the mark considering the PI being incapable of letting go of its colonial master. Sure the money would’ve gone to better use to better training and equipment but priorities doesn’t seem to be the strong point for agencies there in the Philippines.

    1. Under Philippine Law, “foreigners” are not permitted to own security companies. There are loopholes and a few exceptions but, for the most part, foreigners are barred from this type of business here.

  9. OMG, even the pathetically paid PNP are having their jobs ‘outsourced’ to some POS that will do the job for almost nothing.

    it will serve the people doing the outsourcing when one of these POS doing the job turns around and bites them in the ass.

    SM is doing the same thing nation-wide by not hiring permanent employees and so get around paying a mere P400/month($10 measely dollars!) in Phil-Health premiums…..whatta cheap-as-they get bunch of corporate weasels!

    and you all tolerate it, UGH!

    1. @Gerry

      Duct tape? OMG, its called ‘outsourcing’ and finding a cheaper slave to do the job is what is being done here!OMG,”Check, I mean, CLUE PLEASE!”, U just cant make this shit up!

      Here we go again…

      “Outsourcing”, I know, as it is not at all a novel concept–jeeze, But, point is, why does it have to come to this, when it is better to clean-up the PNP?

      You think it is cheaper, not to mention efficient, to have to hire and pay for 2 groups doing jobs redundantly?

      And, knowing how duck/duct tape solutions which are supposed to be temporary quick fixes in da pilipins (like the jeepney & Efren Peñaflorida’s kariton classroom) end up as permanent replacements instead, this should really raise concern.

      1. I did not say that. I did not!

        if these guys are being replaced so to save money, it is a disgrace! that is what I am saying.
        Hire a professional and pay him/her like one…is what I am saying!

  10. PNP locally known as the PCN Philippine Cosa Nostra are to busy committing crime and do not have any time to protect and serve.

  11. Hahaha. The person who come up with the idea is a moron. Clearly he is not smart enough to run whatever office he is currently running. What a shame. Hey dumbass, are you for real?..

  12. They hire security to protect the headquarters of the ones whose job it to protect? Protectception. Hahaha… This move is for more police to be on patrol on duties and on the street. As I observe, and experience especially my college friends who become cops because they cannot find a decent job. The newly hired cops are the ones mostly visible on the streets or they are deployed on the most dangerous parts of the nation. It’s like putting a child on a war zone.

    Why not put the newly hired cops on the headquarters as security, and put competent cops outside, not the other way around. And another thing it will have a opportunity to train properly the new cops since they are all inside the headquarters.

    Just a thought.

  13. The principle and practice of outsourcing police functions, both front line and back office/ support, is well established in a number of countries.

    However successful outsourcing demands clear strategies, high core skills, quality performance, business integrity, and a strong partnership between the respective parties, whether private or public organisations. Clearly inappropriate for the PNP.

    better for PNP to get back to basics and concentrate on trying to do even simple things right, and not add complexities beyond their capabilities to control/manage. ( and managing outsourced suppliers is time-consuming and challenging in itself)

    you only outsource the functionality not the responsibility

  14. Ben

    If it indeed needs protection, PNP should look for and hire the BEST SECURITY AGENCY CORPORATION — if it’s still operating or has suddenly been reorganized (change in identity, for instance).

    For it was no other than the President of the Republic himself who set up the Agency:

    “From 1986 to 1993, Aquino was vice president and treasurer for Best Secutiry Agency Corporation, a firm owned by his uncle Antolin Oreta.”
    http://www.noynoy-aquino.com/about.htm

    Not only that, a sitting Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Bienvenido L. Reyes, once served as one of the its managers:

    “Reyes … served as the finance manager of the Best Security Agency Inc. (BSA) from 1987 to 1990. BSA was the security agency set up by President Aquino that time, when his mother was president.”
    http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/229898/news/nation/aquino-names-ca-justice-bienvenido-reyes-to-supreme-court

    The BEST will best serve and protect the PNP.

  15. Ano ba yan ! Kampo, magbabantay mga security guards, Sa Pilipinas lang meron nyan ah. dADAMI LANG ANG MGA PULIS NA IIKOT (ORBIT) sa mga pasugalan. Video Karera at tupada ang kokotongan nila imbes na magbantay ng kampo nila.

  16. It would be a big mistake to hire blue guards to secure the command and control center of the PNP in Camp Crame. Blue guards are not that well trained to handle security in the camp. I believe that the Special Action Force should be detailed to secure Camp Crame. SAF commandos are better armed and trained to counter security threats. Terrorist/criminal infiltration can and will happen if this hiring of blue guards becomes reality. The commanding general of the PNP should delegate camp security to their best trained unit… The SAF. The security risks and costing become higher should they insist on the foolishness of hiring mere security guards.

  17. Wow, a new low for PNP…under-equipped crooks by day and night now having to seek outside source to cover their incompetence makes me want to form my own band of disciplined vigilantes if the PNP is that ineffective.

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