Next academic year, DLSU is set to enhance several of its security measures to account for the high-risk security cases that surfaced within and right outside the University recently. “It’s high time that we enhance our security measures, given that there have been numerous cases which have threatened the University,” Security and Safety Office (SSO) Director Dionisio Escarez says.
Just outside the University, the Vito Cruz police station reports that various modus operandi have been increasing in number, particularly with cases of salisi gangs. Escarez expresses a concern that Lasallians are usually the victims of the aforementioned criminals.
An alarming increase
The SSO tallied a total of 29 drug possessions, 25 brawls in drinking establishments, two bomb threats and 86 stolen valuables incidents during this academic year alone. There have allegedly been other cases that were either not reported for investigation, or were simply overlooked.
Such alarming figures prompted the University to enhance security protocols.
“Given that most of these cases are perpetrated by the students themselves, this poses a big problem. As such, we’ve planned a handful of additional security measures in the coming academic year,” Escarez furthers.
State of the art security
To address the pressing issues and to conform with global security standards, Vice President for Administration Edwin Santiago shares that all campus entry points will have baggage inspection scanners. These scanners are similar to what the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Authority utilizes for bag inspections. “For this addition, it would cost roughly P850,000 per unit.” The scanners will also be equipped with an advanced explosive detection system, an additional P220,000 setback per scanner.
“Apart from this, the students are also requested to submit to body frisking,” Escarez furthers. Body frisking involves the security guards inspecting the students’ clothes from top to bottom, to check for possession of weapons or illegal drugs.
There have also been an increasing number of cases on salisi and illegal drugs, particularly among drinking places around the University. Royce Ocampo (III, CS) says that he has personally witnessed a student getting robbed right outside One Archers Condominiums. “Hindi ako sigurado, pero posibleng member ng salisi yung nagnakaw [I’m not sure, but perhaps the one who robbed the student was a member of the salisi gang],” he recounts.
With this, Escarez plans to mobilize security guards in plain clothes to roam around the University. These guards will be responsible to keep watch for any drug dealers, drug users or salisi gang members. They are also allowed to conduct citizen arrests.
Justin Diaz (II, BS-PSY) shares his apprehensions regarding the security enhancements effective next academic year. “As it is, we are quite stalled coming into the University because of all these security measures. If you ask me, a line from Br. Andrew [building] extending to the street is more dangerous than what could possibly happen to careless people inside the University.”
On the other hand, Casey Sanchez (II, BS-ENT) says, “I think risking being late for class because of inspections at every building entrance is a small price to pay for the safety and security we deserve to have while inside the University.”
The Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras donated by DLSU-PUSO and the De La Salle Alumni Association played a big role in catching thieves within the campus, but there are still several pockets in the University that have not yet been installed with CCTV units.
The alarming rise of security breaches and crimes within and around the University prompted DLSU’s parent organization to raise funds for the installation of more CCTV cameras. DLSU-PUSO President Iluminado Montemayor discloses that new units have already been purchased and are ready for installation next academic year. The cameras are set to be installed along every hallway, in every classroom, and in all rest rooms located in the campus.
Elaine Tan (II, BS-MGT) shares her relief when the SSO recovered a CCTV footage of the suspect caught in the act of stealthily snatching her laptop from her desk just as she bent down to tie her shoelaces. “If it weren’t for that, justice would never have been served. The installation of additional CCTV cameras will really help maintain security inside DLSU, and will discourage students from stealing from other students.”
Outside the University, however, students must still remain vigilant and cautious of their surroundings.
A more established unit
In line with the aforementioned additional security measures, the security guards currently in place are required to undergo a comprehensive SWAT training program during the summer. The program includes stringent courses on weapon and tactics, on bodyguard training, on medical training, and on general security training courses. “This will ensure that security measures starting next academic year will be intensified,” Santiago asserts.
Montemayor stresses that for as long as the additional security measures will effectively reduce crimes within and outside the campus, the exorbitant amount of expenses in acquiring all enhancements will be worth it. “If there is one thing that should never be compromised within the University, it is the overall safety and security of students,” he ends.