Last May 20, a Helpdesk Announcement was sent out by the DLSU Security Office informing the community of its recent acquisition of a new x-ray inspection machine. The new device, which is designed to scan the bags of entrants, has since been situated at the North Gate in front of Henry Sy Sr. Hall. Vice Chancellor for Administration Dr. Arnel Uy reveals in an interview with The LaSallian that this was part of the Security Office’s plan to create a safe and secure atmosphere for the students.

The machine, the vice chancellor highlights, was supplied by the family business of actor Derek Ramsay. Derek A. Ramsay, his father, founded and currently sits as the General Manager of Guard-All Electronic Security Systems Inc., a security systems provider.

Rationale for the purchase

Because DLSU has heavy foot traffic, it is the job of the Security Office to ensure that only the “right” people are allowed to enter. In addition to this, the office has to ensure that people who enter campus premises are not carrying any dangerous weapons.

By looking at other places with similar foot traffic, Uy makes an observation: some of them have x-ray inspection machines installed at the entrances. This opportunity for heightened security is what convinced the Security Office to have these machines installed at campus gates. “We realize that while we might not be exposed to the same threats, it’s good to have extra security. Not too much, [but] just enough for us to give ourselves peace of mind,” he explains.

Although buying an x-ray inspection machine was something that had long been planned, budget constraints during the lean years delayed its procurement. As a result, security guards improvised by instead manually checking bags. Doing away with that process, Uy says that the x-ray machine is a welcome upgrade because it is less “invasive”.

Maintaining a safe environment

Overall, the goal of the Security Office is to create “an atmosphere that is conducive for learning, further studies, research, and student activities,” which the office hopes to accomplish as student safety is their priority.

It does this through the use of a security plan, making use of historical statistics in order to identify possible threats. Examples of threats that the University prepares for are theft, robbery, and other petty crimes. However, the Security Office also occasionally prepares for specific targeted threats such as those during election season, with the office acting accordingly based on reports of mobilizations and destabilization plans.

Furthermore, the office has other security measures such as K9 units which roam around the University grounds every other morning.

Another part of the office’s protocol is to make sure that staff around the premises remain enthusiastic. Smiling and greeting students allow guards to better communicate with the people they are trying to serve, according to Uy. “We need your cooperation. If we cannot get your cooperation, it’s actually going to take triple the number of people we have to ensure that [the campus is safe],”
he states.

Future plans

As for future plans, Uy shares that the office is currently undergoing a security audit. This process involves having a third party review DLSU’s security plan and measures. By the end of the term, when the audit is completed, they will know what areas need to be improved upon. Uy adds, “We’ll see if we still need to beef up on some areas or if [some current security measures are] sufficient, then we can scale down.” 

Regarding the x-ray machines, the Security Office plans to place more at other entrances in the coming terms. In fact, another machine is already on its way, Uy reveals, pending the supplier’s approval. The machine would be placed at the entrance near St. La Salle Hall because of the large number of people who pass there, according to Uy. The entrances of Br. Andrew Gonzalez Hall and Gokongwei Hall are also those under consideration.

Finally, Uy highlights the portability of the new machines. He says that in campus-wide events such as the annual University Vision-Mission Week, these x-ray equipment could be wheeled to locations where they are needed. 

Perception of Lasallians

With the security measures carried out by the University, some Lasallians weigh in on what they think of the new protocol. Ysabelle Orlino (II, BSA) comments that the installation of the x-ray inspection machine makes bag inspections more thorough but time-consuming during rush hours since there is currently only one scanner.

Meanwhile, Nicole* says that the metal detectors found at every gate is useful, but questions its effectiveness since some students are not asked to stop when they enter the gate.

When asked as to how they perceive the new x-ray machine, Imay Queblatin (III, AB-DSM) claims that it is unnecessary and that adjusting to it would take time.

In terms of how security could be improved, Nicole suggests that the University should have dogs specialized in sniffing out illegal drugs. Aside from this, she recommends implementing a no hat or cap rule when entering the gate and installing more closed-circuit television cameras in elevators around campus.

*Names changed to protect anonymity.

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