Readers have weighed in on the prospect of mining companies arming their private security guards. Mike Sloan wrote:
“I currently live in the Philippines so am somewhat familiar with the security issues that mining companies face. There are armed security guards in almost any business, mall, and most places that you would live. I’m a U.S. citizen and am used to guns, but here they are everywhere.
“So, for the Philippine government to do this [allow armed guards] is not a surprise, and it’s not that big of a deal here in country. It’s part of the Philippine culture to have armed guards everywhere. There’s a joke here in the expat community that if the private security forces wanted to take over the country the could because they have more guards and guns then do the local military.
“Not saying it’s right but just a reality here in the Philippines,” he concluded
And another reader wrote: “These [mining] companies often are located in remote areas where army protection is not available in emergencies and where bandits can operate without fear. Adequate protection would require huge government outlays at taxpayer expense. Let the mining companies decide what is needed for security at their expense!
“Yes, of course, there are political implications and risks of all sorts to consider. But the security of innocent mine workers and staff, local or foreign nationals, is best controlled by the operating company with its knowledge of local conditions and dangers. Moreover, it should be their responsibility, and the shareholders should be aware of this.”