CSFP businessmen oppose plan to require firms to get security guards

Businessmen in the City of San Fernando have expressed opposition to a planned mandatory “hiring and posting” of security guards in business establishments in the capital city.

Rene Romero, chairman of Romac Group, said that the proposed ordinance to require entrepreneurs to hire security guards is “anti-business” and must not prosper.

Romero, also a director of the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PamCham), is reacting to a draft ordinance now pending in the Sangguniang Panlungsod that mandates the hiring of security guards by all business firms in CSFP with a P3-million capitalization.

The proposed measure, which is also being considered a pre-requisite in the issuance of business permits, is tantamount to “telling entrepreneurs how to operate our businesses,” Romero said in a phone conversation.

“Even if they increase the capitalization amount to P10 million, they cannot require each business firm. It cannot be a one-size-fits-all requirement,” Romero said.

Romero said that he understands if banks, pawn shops, convenience stores, gas stations and “those with big cash on drawers” get their own security personnel.

Maiintindihan po natin at dapat lang talaga meron security ang mga banko, bahay sanglaan at iba pang high risk na negosyo. Pero paano naman po yung mga nasa palengke, mga nagtitinda ng inumin at pagkain, bigas, gulay, mga simpleng mangangalakal lamang na kung saan ang capital ay umaabot na rin ng P3 million dahil sa taas ng presyo ng supply at materials, gas ngayon at iba pang gamit pang negosyo?” Romero asked.

He added that the protection of business establishments is the prime responsibility of law enforcement agencies as part of proceeds for payment of taxes.

He fears that the planned imposition of this measure would hurt small and micro enterprises who may not afford hiring and posting of security personnel that cost anywhere from P20,000 to P35,0000 per guard, depending on number of duty hours.

Under the draft ordinance, businesses that will be found to be in violation of the mandatoy hiring and posting will be subject to suspension of operations and revocation of business permit.

Romero furnished this writer a copy of pointers that he said should lead to the opposition of the ordinance. They are as follows:

Lack of Data-Driven Justification: The proposed ordinance mentions an increase in criminal incidents involving business establishments in the city but fails to provide concrete data or analysis to support this claim. It is essential to base such a significant regulatory change on empirical evidence to ensure that it is necessary and proportionate to the problem.

One-Size-Fits-All Approach: The proposed ordinance applies uniformly to all business establishments with a capital of Three Million Pesos (PHP 3,000,000) or more, regardless of their specific risk profiles. This one-size-fits-all approach does not take into account the varying levels of risk and security requirements among different types of businesses.

Financial Burden on Businesses: Requiring all eligible businesses to hire licensed, trained, and armed security guard personnel places an additional financial burden on business owners. This burden is particularly challenging for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating on tight budgets.

Bureaucratic Complexity: The ordinance introduces a bureaucratic process for businesses to prove compliance, involving appointment letters/ designations, employment contracts, and social insurance contributions. These administrative requirements may be onerous and time-consuming for business owners.

Contradiction with Ease of Doing Business Initiatives: The Philippines has made significant efforts to improve the ease of doing business in the country. This proposed ordinance, with its added regulatory burden, appears to contradict these national initiatives, potentially discouraging investment and economic growth.

Potential for Abuse and Corruption: The mandated hiring of security guards may inadvertently create opportunities for abuse and corruption.