Ensuring the safety and welfare of our mandated stakeholders (faculty, administrative and technical support personnel, and students) has been a constant primary concern of the UP Diliman (UPD) administration particularly in recent years. The task is complex given that UP is a secular and public institution of higher learning (RA 9500) and that thousands of alumni, guests, visitors, third-party employees, passers-by, and informal settlers also set foot daily on campus land.
The UPD academic community also likes to keep the campus accessible to all those who seek knowledge, enlightenment, and inspiration as well as those who simply want to keep themselves physically fit. The Philippine population (2010 estimate: 94 million) on the other hand, is rapidly increasing at an average annual rate of two percent and the impact of this growth is disproportionately felt in cities like Quezon City where economic opportunities are better than in other parts of the country.
The UPD administration is fully aware that academic excellence at the international level is doubly difficult to achieve when our mandated stakeholders are not safe and sound at least while they are on campus.
The UPD campus in Quezon City has a contiguous land area of 493 hectares that spans from Camp Karingal in the southwest, segment of C-5 and Barangay Pansol in the southeast, to the Central Avenue in the north. The campus covers seven barangays (at least portions of them) including the Barangay UP Campus. National roads like the Commonwealth Avenue and CP Garcia cut through its academic core. Several government agencies like CHED, CHR, DOST-ASTI, DOST Phivolcs, Philippine Red Cross are headquartered in the campus and others are interested to relocate. A detailed map of UPD is available in: www.upd.edu.ph.
UPD employs more than 1,500 fulltime faculty members (36% with doctoral degrees) and 1,700 regular administrative and technical support personnel to serve the academic needs of more than 24,000 students (undergraduates: 71%) and to conduct scientific research and/or extension work especially for other government agencies like the DOST and CHED. At least a thousand more are performing support services for third-party contractors (sanitary and security services), non-UP offices, and legitimate business concessionaires.
The efficient utilization of valuable UPD land assets for academic as well as academic support and resource generation purposes has been endangered by the seemingly endless widening of national roads as well as by the growth of informal settlements. The segment of Commonwealth Avenue in the campus is wider and longer than the Tagbilaran airport. Heavy traffic in CP Garcia Avenue has been a persistent cause of serious noise and emission pollution for the National Science Complex and the ERDT while endangering physically the UPD academic community.
The census that was conducted (and completed in December 2011) by the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Community Affairs in cooperation with local government units like the Barangay UP Campus, has revealed the presence of at least 15,500 households living in self-built units (SBU’s) that were constructed without necessary permit from the UPD administration. Informal settlers far outnumber our mandated stakeholders – on the average, there are 4.5 members in every household.
A set of working principles is needed to develop an effective security system for UPD. Security is a science. Its model must be constantly validated and improved in response to information that is derived from relevant and accurate field data. No security system is 100% fail-safe. It is improved iteratively because the real world is complex and adaptive.
Human beings commit crimes and a successful security system for UPD is realized when a balance is found between public accessibility and daily campus population. That balance is both delicate and elusive and it is best determined through constant interaction of its direct beneficiaries - administrators, faculty, staff, students, alumni and local government officials. Furthermore, every security measure introduced is often accompanied by a trade-off that constrains individual wants (and self-indulgence) in favor of the common good.
The human resource component of our security system consists of the UPD Police (with 42 officers and 9 administrative staff), security guards, and security service brigade (SSB) personnel. Two security service contractors are hired via public bidding (RA 9184) to maintain campus security – one each for the north and south sector of UPD. In the previous security contracts (duration: 12 months), UPD spent close to PhP100M on security guards (303; total value of two service contracts: PhP88.154M) and SSB personnel (51) alone. The number of guards is increased (at additional expense) during special programs and occasions (e.g. commencement exercises, special recognition programs, exhibits, official visits of dignitaries, etc).
New security service contracts (duration: 12 months; contract value: PhP67.26M; baseline: 236 guards) are being implemented since 1 January 2012 for the North (Winace) and 1 February 2012 for the South Sector (Glocke). The number of guards has already increased to more than 240 since then in response to verified feedback from the field.
The terms of reference (TOR) of the new contracts were formulated by the UPD Campus Security and Welfare Committee (CSWC) that is composed of the Chancellor (chair), Chief Security Officer (vice-chair), UPD Police Chief and representatives from the faculty, staff, student (USC Chairperson) Diliman Legal Office, and the Department of Military Science and Tactics. The CSWC is strictly enforcing the TOR that includes a minimum height and age requirements for guards consistent with the provisions of RA 5487. The same requirements (not more than 45 years old; 5’6” for male and 5’2” for female guards) were stipulated in past contracts but were not strictly followed.
Our guards are deployed in the academic and administrative buildings as well as in the five access portals/gates (University Avenue, Ylanan, Jacinto, Velasquez and Magsaysay-C5) to the UPD academic core. A separate team is assigned to watch over campus land and prevent the construction of new illegal SBU’s after December 2011. The security agency will be fined PhP10K a day for every illegal SBU that appears under its watch.
The CSWC evaluated the previous campus security arrangement for its flaws and weaknesses in order to enhance future effectiveness. The review was not aimed primarily to reduce the security budget although the CSWC had been concerned with its rising cost – the budget increased yearly by 6.5% between 2005 and 2010. UPD is ready to allocate for 2012 the same amount previously spent but it plans to utilize a portion of the 2012 budget to acquire new security hardware like automatic bar gates for our portals and high-resolution CCTV cameras that will be installed in strategic campus locations.
Security is only one component albeit vital, of a comprehensive risk response and disaster management system that is being readied for UPD. The other components include the University Health Service (UHS), Campus Maintenance Office (CMO) and our LGU partners.
We have already started to enhance the hardware capability of the UPD Police (new cars, motorcycles and radios) and the UHS (new ambulance). We are also finalizing the donation of a new boom truck for the CMO and are looking for other kindred spirits to donate a new pick-up truck to boost existing capability. Government regulations make it very tedious for UPD to acquire new maintenance vehicles and motor equipment. UPD is improving our partnerships with the PNP and other government agencies to enhance the technical competence of the UPD Police and SSB personnel through regular training programs and workshops.
UPD is the flagship campus of the UP System. It is a national treasure – most of the leading scientists, researchers, scholars, and artists of the country are here generating new scientific knowledge and creative works while mentoring the next generation of young Filipino talent. The UP President also holds office in the campus. During the last UPCAT held in August 2011, there were 48,486 who applied to UPD – only 3821 (less than eight out of 100 applicants) have been qualified for admission in SY 2012-2013.
Finally, let us bear in mind that the UPD campus is an integral part of Quezon City and Metro Manila. The socio-economic and political consequences of increasing urbanization, widespread poverty, and rapid population growth are also seriously felt here. Therefore, let us work closely together to achieve an effective security system for UPD. Your genuine cooperation and sincere participation are crucial to our success.
Thank you for your kind attention.