Unguarded moments

Unguarded moments

Business locators in the capital city of San Fernando in Pampanga can now heave a sigh of relief after the city council decided to shelve a proposed ordinance requiring all business establishments to employ the services of security guards.

This decision came after a public hearing where businessmen led by Rene G. Romero and the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (PamCham) expressed their concerns about the financial burden this would bring.

The proposed city ordinance has sparked a debate on the necessity and practicality of requiring all businesses to employ security guards.

While the intent behind the proposal may be to enhance security and prevent crime, the practical implications for business owners and the overall impact on the city's economy cannot be ignored.

Councilor Reden Halili, apparently sensing the snowballing opposition from various sector, promptly withdrew his proposal.

At first glance, the idea of requiring businesses to have security guards seems like a reasonable measure to ensure the safety of both employees and customers. However, when delving deeper into the issue, it becomes clear that this proposal raises significant concerns and challenges.

First and foremost was the financial burden on business owners. Running a business already comes with numerous expenses, from rent and utilities to employee wages and taxes. Adding the cost of hiring security guards could be financially crippling for many small and medium-sized enterprises. This is especially true in a time when many businesses are struggling to stay afloat due to the economic backlash brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

What about the practicality of such a requirement? If every business in the city were to hire just one security guard, the sheer number of individuals in this profession would be staggering. We could easily assemble a battalion from these security personnel put together.

Is it necessary to have such a large number of security guards in the city? I don't believe so. This could potentially create the perception of a lack of peace and order in the city, which could deter potential investors and tourists.

Not all businesses may require a physical security presence, as the level of risk and the need for protection can vary widely depending on the industry and location of the business. Though categorized as a city, there are still places in San Fernando that could still pass to be described idyllic but with businesses locators, nonetheless. They have ongoing economic activities but are usually not exposed to the risks businesses encounter in more populated areas.

The proposal also raises questions about the role and capacity of the local police force. If the intention of the ordinance is to supplement the efforts of law enforcement in preventing crime, it begs the question of whether this should be the responsibility of individual businesses or if it should be addressed through broader community policing initiatives and increased police presence in commercial areas.

On a larger scale, the proposal spotlights the need for comprehensive urban planning and crime prevention strategies. Rather than placing the burden solely on business owners, a more holistic approach that involves collaboration between local government, law enforcement, and the business community could yield more effective and sustainable results in maintaining public safety and security.

While the withdrawal of the proposed ordinance is a welcome development for many business owners, this issue serves as a reminder of the importance of critical thinking and thorough analysis in policymaking. Before implementing regulations that have far-reaching implications, why not conduct in-depth studies and consultations first to understand the potential consequences and, then, explore alternative solutions.

Moving forward, the city council must engage in dialogue with the business community and other stakeholders to find alternative solutions that will ensure the safety and security of businesses without imposing undue financial burdens.

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