A CORRECTION must be made as regards the unfortunate and seemingly ceaseless breaches by brigands and street robbers of UST students’ safety and security these recent weeks.

This writer feels that the UST security force has been getting an undue derision for allegedly doing nothing for the safe keep of Thomasians. I submit that it is hardly their fault. UST’s guards were not hired to patrol the streets at night. They were hired to keep the peace and ensure order within the campus. As it is, they are already undermanned. To require more of them by assigning them full force, or hiring more, for patrolling the outside periphery of the school and at after-school hours would be stretching their job description to an unjustified extent.

In fact, as we have gathered, guards have been assigned to rove the outside areas for some time now, but it is elementary that outside the walls, the patrol area is many times larger, and there is little our guards can do. And the roving stops at around 10 in the evening on the assumption that all students have gone home. Beyond that, the student is on his own.

One or two guards are assigned at school gates that are active at night, but the robberies can happen everywhere but near the gates. If there is anyone that needs to be visible from that point on, it is the tanod and the police of the local district, whose jobs are precisely to keep the locality safe and livable. The security and safety of the area around the school is, more than anyone else’s, the burden of the local government, not the UST security force.

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Let us remember, however, that our police have a hard time keeping a good reputation. With due credit to the boys in blue who do keep untarnished records, sometime last year, this writer mentioned in this space an email from a student-complainant, saying she was allegedly warned by local police not to pursue any case against her purse snatcher because the latter was the son of some high-ranked police or army officer.

Aside from that, local police also say they are undermanned. Apparently, either crime-fighting is no longer as quixotic a profession as it used to be, or police officers are just assigned elsewhere.

The barangay tanod, meanwhile, can only work so much for such measly pay. Perhaps some of that money from the new taxes should go to incentives for peace enforcers to stay on the job.

This is not to say that our guards should not be on the lookout for possible criminal incidents. The security force should always be on the alert even beyond their assigned posts. That would not be too far a stretch of their jobs.

This is more to say that the solution to our current security predicament is not just “more visibility” on the part of our security force, or more members thereof, for that matter. It is also, and more importantly, a matter of our own vigilance. Constant vigilance.

The average street robber is a thinking attacker. His mode of operation keeps getting wilier than the last. He continues to adapt especially in areas where he knows there are bound to be guards, tanod, or police. Most of street muggers are also armed. The way robbers have been operating recently should take just a little more imagination to think of other possible ways in which they could divest us of our properties.

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I am told that our student leaders have already gone to city hall to seek assistance on this security matter. We have yet to see added action from our city officials.

In the meantime, we should also help ourselves by being vigilant, rather than point fingers.

***

I must also make this correction lest they take back my college degree: the correct Latin aphorism is Quidquid recipitur ad modum recipiendi recipitur. The one that appeared previously in this column is a monstrosity in Latin grammar. Many thanks to a former professor, who cared enough to bother and correct me. That should teach me to be more vigilant in my Latin. And to verify my notes.

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