Saturday, October 20, 2007

Annals of mall security

“Seguridad sa iba pang mga malls sa Metro Manila lalo pang hinigpitan kasunod ng pagsabog sa Glorietta mall sa Makati.” -- “Saksi,” GMA 7, October 19, 2007

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?

10 comments:

aj batac said...

Situation in our country is making me all the more sad.

Em Dy said...

I would have spent today having lunch with family at a mall somewhere. I promised them that since last week - to celebrate National Thank You Day with them. Since I have to go to work today, we're eating out tomorrow instead - steering clear however of the malls.

I have some time off between clinics and I usually pass the time off by seeing a movie. I chose to hang out and blog in the clinic. Better to be safe than sorry.

Shangri-La has canine dogs sniffing bags at the entrances but not all the time.

rico said...

I wish the mall owners would also invest on security cameras and make use of them extensively.

I just don't think that security guards inspecting our bags are enough to prevent some "insane" people from bringing explosive devices inside the mall.

What happened yesterday is really sad! I sympathy goes to all victims.

snglguy said...

Everybody knows that those guards are useless in this case. Any professional terrorist or group of terrorists can easily slip a disassembled explosive device into a building, and reassemble them in the rest rooms later.Come on, we're not dealing with stupid people here...

The timing is highly suspect, but then it could be just a coincidence.

arpee lazaro said...

the whole bombing-innocent-people thing is making me more afraid of moslems in general. they should police their own ranks somehow. i know this is a prejudiced thing to say. but can you blame me? the wife of a former officemate died while buying stuff for her kid's birthday. no one deserves to die this way, just because of some twisted ideology that will not be solved even if we all died at the same time. those behind the bombing are not human. not human at all.

Cyberpunk said...

mall guards just poke the contents of your bag mechanically, not really looking for anything suspicious...

frisking consists of barely touching you (which kinda tickles)...

most of the time, the guards don't even look at you since they're busy conversing with their fellow guards...

Rody said...

mr arpee lazaro, such a harsh statement about muslims-- in general. i have a number of muslim friends who are peace-loving. and they can vouch for the fact that the majority of muslims are equally peace-loving and god fearing. a handful of extremists do not in any way represent them. i've seen buddhist fundamentalists, hindu fundamentalists, christian fundamentalists, even marxist extremists in my travels. and what i've been increasingly afraid of is the generalizing made by people that may have no basis in fact. what we need now more than ever is a clearer perspective of terror. not sweeping generalizations of people and their beliefs. i agree that the bombing tragedy is a horrible, inhuman act. But to come to conclusions that may belabor logic and reason may only further add confusion. This has been the easiest way to ending terror-- but so far, as per US project on Iraq shows, it has done nothing of that. on the contrary. so please I appeal to your sobriety.

Jehzeel Laurente said...

they don't even check if my cookies has a small chip-like bomb on it.. they just opened my bag, and poooOOFF! it became coco crunch! ^__^

beektur said...

such great socio-political, anthropological, cultural, behavioral, military-logistical discussion. and to think that the cause of the explosion pala is a tank of tae. holy s**t!

gibbs cadiz said...

AJ, same here. :(

EM, we all have to take our chances, don't we? i wish you and your family well. :)

RICO, good point. i agree. :)

SNGLGUY, yep, you said it. useless talaga ang guards lang. :)

ARPEE, i understand where you're coming from, but i have to disagree with you and support rody vera's appeal to avoid sweeping statements against the general muslim population. nevertheless, thanks for expressing your sentiments here. :)

CYBERPUNK, yep, sakit nila, they're chatting with other guards while going through the motions of inspecting your bags. :)

RODY, thanks. agree 100 percent with your comment. :)

JEHZEEL, haha! :)

BEEKTUR, naman! either way (whether it was a bomb or a gas explosion), the ayalas are in hot water and have some explaining to do. :)

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