Sentry duty

CTALK - Cito Beltran - The Philippine Star

By now many of our readers and netizens may have seen the videos involving a homeowner in the BF-Homes community who tried to bully his way through the BF-Homes outpost without the proper village sticker. His menacing behavior was fruitless because the security guard stood his ground not just on principle but also because he could lose his job, get penalized and his salary deducted by as much as a week or two weeks for allowing a non-stickered vehicle to pass through. That sort of salary deduction forces guards to go into debt with loan sharks or 5-6 lenders. Unfortunately, the driver, who turns out to be a son of a congressman, never considered the fact that the guard was doing exactly what homeowners like him were paying the guard to do: to secure the community.

Instead, Mr. Son of a Congressman decided to establish his dominance by returning to the outpost with three men, presumably bodyguards, who surrounded the helpless security guard while the Son of the Congressman proceeded to punch and kick the security guard. The sad truth is that such violent behavior is nothing new. Just about every Congress showcases at least one or two members who get involved in violent altercations or a relative who gets involved in such embarrassing situations, picking fights with lowly employees etc. Many vehicle owners often think only of their desire and need to enter a village but how many of us ever really make or take the time to sit down with the boys in blue and white and learn the multi-level penalties they endure if they are late, seen napping after pulling 24-hour duty, or simply reported to the village office by arrogant, bossy villager or their adult children who still behave like brats and who did not like the way a guard “looked” at them! Not many even know about the illegal deductions taken from the already very low salaries that security guards are paid.

The recent incident that involved the Bratty Son of a Congressman should not simply be treated as a “share” worthy post to make the guilty person (in)Famous but something that all of us should pay serious attention to. First and foremost, villages like BF Homes and the like should educate not just security guards but homeowners about how and why they should treat security guards with respect. Security guards are our first line of defense in residential and commercial establishments, so why beat up the guy for doing what you paid him to do? So many security guards have been shot, stabbed, killed or seriously injured in the performance of their duty. Many of them have performed heroic deeds but rarely get recognized or compensated for fighting off Bukas Kotse gangs, Akyat Bahay gangs and foiling robberies in gas stations, convenience stores, banks and thwarting kidnaps or assassinations of local politicians and business people. Village and condominium associations as well as schools should undertake a sustained campaign or re-education of people in their communities that security guards are paid employees, who by virtue of the license requirements and training etc. are in fact “Professionals” and should be trained and treated as such. I used the term re-educate because Filipinos must get rid of their Señorito / Señorita mentality that treats security guards as vassals or lowly helpers.

I recently saw an appeal of the culprit’s brother to the victim asking to patch things up and settle the matter amicably as well as a request that other members of the family not be dragged into the matter. Perhaps one of the best things that the parties concerned can do is to require the bully driver to post one month of Sentry Duty at the very same gate where he performed his most offensive and embarrassing behavior. This is not to humiliate him but rather to make him experience and hopefully understand how hard it is to be a security guard and to witness the behavior of other drivers and residents towards security guards. Maybe if he really got to know what kind of lives and hardships security guards go through, the offender might learn some lessons in humility.

Interestingly, before the incident took place, one of the topics that kept popping up in my readings and podcasts was about how to train up a child and how children need discipline not as punishment but in order to save them from self-destructing or death. Proverbs 15 has a lot to say about anger, harsh words, violent behavior etc.  I picked out a few that are simply right on topic:

A gentle answer turns away wrath,

but a harsh word stirs up anger.

The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge,

but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.

The eyes of the Lord are everywhere,

keeping watch on the wicked and the good.

A fool spurns a parent’s discipline,

but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.

10 Stern discipline awaits anyone who leaves the path;

the one who hates correction will die.

16 Better a little with the fear of the Lord

than great wealth with turmoil.

17 Better a small serving of vegetables with love

than a fattened calf with hatred.

18 A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict,

but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.

20 A wise son brings joy to his father,

but a foolish man despises his mother.

24 The path of life leads upward for the prudent

to keep them from going down to the realm of the dead.

28 The heart of the righteous weighs its answers,

but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.

29 The Lord is far from the wicked,

but he hears the prayer of the righteous.

32 Those who disregard discipline despise themselves,

but the one who heeds correction gains understanding.

33 Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord,

and humility comes before honor.

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