Not true. The entrances to the connected structures of Gateway Mall, Farmer's Plaza and the LRT Station in Cubao, while sporting the usual bag-checking security guards, was as porous as ever at 8 p.m. last night. My friend actually said, just before we entered the mall, “Naku, mahigpit 'ata ngayon.” He had a large, bulging bag with him.
The guard just took a cursory, uninterested glance at what was inside, then waved us through. Didn't even frisk either of us. Which made me wonder as usual: When these guards ask us to open our bags in the name of OUR security, do they really know what they're looking for? Would they know how to identify an explosive device (or at least parts of it) if it stared them in the face--especially now when lethal bombs can be assembled from the most innocuous, ordinary-looking of items?
I don't mind the extra chore of opening my bag and having my belongings poked, if that's what it would take to make me feel safe inside a mall. But I wish there was some way the malls could assure us, too, that their security personnel do know what they're looking for when they go through our bags and wave those beeping batons in front of us. That the whole procedure isn't just some rigmarole, a token set-up, but a serious effort to weed out those with mischief on their minds.
The fact that a bomb would go off now, however, in the midst of a raging political conflagration, is another point to ponder. Two weeks ago it was talk of a new coup attempt, and now this. How convenient. Haven't we seen this script before?