Tagle, Ygnalaga aim for risk reduction
IN RESPONSE TO national security concerns, the Silliman University (SU) administration tightened campus security measures by means of stricter implementation of its university policies.
The Office of Information and Publication released an advisory last Sept. 5 regarding tightened campus security measures.
Engr. Edgar Ygnalaga, officer in charge of the Public Assistance and Security Office (PASO) said that more guards have been deployed at major gates: Admin gate (near SU Cafeteria), Gate 7, Langheim (near Katipunan Hall), Villareal, and Laguna.
Ygnalaga said that there are two guards per gate. One guard is in-charge of the vehicles and the other is for the pedestrian.
“The guard for the vehicles will be monitoring [and inspecting] katong mga [vehicles] with sticker or without sticker…and also to [check] the [people] inside the vehicles,” Ygnalaga said.
Ygnalaga stressed that they increased the number of guards so that all people entering will be carefully checked for compliance of university policies.
He explained that one guard monitoring a major gate will have a hard time accommodating pedestrians and vehicles.
Meanwhile, Atty. Fe Marie Tagle, vice president for Finance and Administration, said that not all vehicles will be allowed to enter the campus as part of the tightened security measures of SU.
Tagle added that the university is currently drafting a new traffic and parking policy to be implemented in the second semester.
“For those who were issued stickers last school year, [those stickers] shall be valid until October ,” Tagle said.
Moreover, SU is enforcing “stricter implementation” of the wearing of IDs. According to the Student Manual, identification cards should be worn by students at all times.
Tagle stressed that students, faculty, and staff should always wear their IDs inside the campus so that they will be easily identified by the security personnel.
Ygnalaga added,“that’s why we put another guard for the pedestrian to check ang mga IDs, labina katong mga visitors nga musulod.”
Ygnalaga emphasized that the guidelines for IDs and vehicle passes have already been implemented even before the recent national security concerns.
Tagle said that the university is coming up with a protocol for crisis response.
Prof. Jane Annette Belarmino, vice president for Development, is coordinating the drafting team for the said protocol.
The protocol will include different kinds of emergencies but not limited to bomb explosions, typhoons, earthquakes, and gunshots.
For now, while the protocol is still being drafted, Tagle said that “we [university] are limiting access within campus.”
Furthermore, Ygnalaga stressed that in times of emergency, the carillon bells will sound an alarm to alert the students, faculty, and staff to stay where they are.
“We will ring the alarm [using the carillon]. Maka-hear mo ug continuous siren [which means to say] lockdown mo. You will lock the doors of the classroom, stay there, and wait for further advice,” he said.
Ygnalaga also emphasized that the siren serves as an alarm for all Sillimanians to stay put and find a safe place.
While an official protocol is still under study, Tagle said measures are carefully implemented to reduce risks.
Tagle added that a fund is now allotted for emergency purposes. She said that this fund will be used so that Silliman will be able to recover in case unexpected events happen in the future.
“In anticipation of these kinds of events, we have to make sure that we can immediately mobilize people and resources to respond to the needs,” Tagle said.
“Silliman is doing its best to make sure that students, faculty, and staff coming in and out of the campus are safe,” Tagle said.
On the other hand, Ygnalaga said that SU is not disregarding the possibility of bomb threats.
However, he said that SU is a peaceful place and not a hot target for terrorists unlike other places.
Tagle said that “we [administration] try our best to make us [Sillimanians] feel safe [on campus].”
Meanwhile, Ygnalaga said that the students, faculty, and staff should not rely on the guards. All should be mindful of their surroundings.
When on campus, Ygnalaga advised that Sillimanians should be observant of their surroundings because the guards are focused on the gates.
“Kita, we will help each other…[and if you see a suspicious person and you feel that he/she is not a student,] you can report to PASO,” Ygnalaga added.
However, the guards will now carefully check the IDs of students. Ygnalaga said that the guards will check if the IDs are validated and if the ID belongs to the person wearing it.
For the vehicles without stickers, Tagle advised that these people should not park inside the campus.
According to Tagle, “if you don’t have stickers, just don’t park because that is our way of [control]. Vehicles with stickers are registered in the OSS [Office of Student Services].”
Tagle also explained that there are areas called “soft spots” and “hot spots.” She said that Dumaguete is not a hot spot unlike Manila, Cebu, and Davao.
A “hot spot” is an area where terrorists can attack to deflect the attention of the masses, usually a highly populated area. On the other hand, “soft spots” are areas where terrorists are unlikely to attack.
According to Tagle, Manila, Cebu, and Davao will always be on heightened alert because these are big cities.
Furthermore, Tagle expressed that Sillimanians should follow advisories released by the university.
Cooperation and Planning
Ygnalaga stressed that faculty, staff and students should do their part with regards to their own safety.
As of now, he said that there’s nothing to be alarmed of. Ygnalaga said that everyone should be vigilant.
“Kitang tanan, maglihok, not only the guards, and we [should] cooperate with the guards,” he added.
Tagle explained that the tightening of campus security are all preparations to reduce risks.
“We cannot be sure [if terrorists will attack SU]. We leave it up to God that these things will never happen to us,” she said.