Mar 24, 2007

[Philippines] The Non-Security of Makati Offices

Flickr: eeggee - Standing between GT Tower and RCBC

Sadly, the Philippines has become a country stained with the reputation for being a terrorist haven. International news agencies can't help but capitalize on our numerous rallies, random acts of violence and political mudslinging that help keep our days and nights entertaining at the very least. As a way to combat this reputation, a lot of business have taken on various security practices in order to provide a semblance of security.

But we're not really made safer by all these extra steps such that it has become rather ridiculous at best. Does anyone really think our security forces are going to find anything in case of a real emergency? Allow me to discuss the security practices at one of the "premiere" buildings in the Makati Business District, the RCBC Plaza, and you'll see that even the best make really stupid mistakes. The RCBC had to bolster its security arrangements since the Canadian, German, and Australian embassies are located there along with an office representing the European Union.

Plus I work there.
  1. Starting from outside your car is checked for explosive devices at a checkpoint. The have these mirrors they run under the sides of your car as they check for things and they have drivers open their trunks for inspection. Based on their search patterns, the best place to hide an explosive device is in the laps of passengers or even sitting in plain sight on the back seat. If you're feeling a bit nervous, you could also hide it under your seat. They'll never notice - half the ti,e he guards are too busy talking to one another instead of really inspecting.
  2. You don't even need to go through the checkpoint - go around the building and have yourself dropped off at the side entrance! There's no inspection for vehicles there.
  3. Bomb sniffing dogs are only around during peak hours in the day. The best time to sneak through is in the early evening when all the call center people are swarming the doors and the guards tend to be more lax in checking your things.
  4. Don't carry a bag - the guard needs to check that. Instead conceal your weapons or small explosive devices taped to your check or hanging off your back. The guard's standard frisk pattern for men without bags is a brief tap at the small of your back near your waist and a slight tapping of your pockets.
  5. For IDs, just wear any brightly colored lanyard and a plastic ID card. You don't need for it to face front - the guards will never take a closer look. Even if your lanyard doesn't belong to any of the offices in the building, it won't matter. Just look like you know what you're doing.
  6. Once in the building, there are two more checkpoints, one of each of the towers. The lanyard trick will help you get past them. If you want to smuggle anything past them, carry them in any plain plastic shopping bag, preferably from a major fast food joint. They never check these bags, as long as they're not too big.

As you can see, there's no real challenge to getting into the building with an explosive device given such devices don't have to be larger than a cellular phone or PDA. This is already how a top notch building tries to manage security - what more the shopping malls and such that are even worse?

All the frisking, car inspections and delays are just for show. If they really wanted to improve security in the area, there's a whole lot more that needs to be done than just hiring flunkies to cop a feel off of every person walking through the checkpoint.

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Photo linked from eeggee's photostream.

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