BAYBAY City, Leyte – While delegates from VSU Alangalang attended the Intramurals parade and opening on September 19, 2017, items from their quarters at the lower campus were pilfered.
The unguarded quarters of the team was looted and a total of 3, 455.00Php cash plus power banks and phone chargers were taken as listed in the security office’s blotter files. They were housed at the VSU Laboratory High School's Communication Arts Building.
Benjamin Caspe, 20, BS Environmental Management athlete from AlangAlang who is now staying at the second room of the building, said he lost 300 pesos.
“Nag-attend kasi kami parade didto [upper campus], kay nayakan amon Dean nga tanan kami required um-attend. Pagbalik namon ngadi [quarters] around 7:00 PM, an amon mga gamit nagkakalat na. An akon tablet nakada gawas. An akon kwarta, gin-check ko dayon, waray na.”
(That afternoon, we attended the intramurals parade at the upper campus since our College Dean required us all to. We got back here in our quarters at around 7:00 PM with all our things messed up. I found my gadget outside my bag and my money was gone.)
Gian Rey Birer, 20, also an athlete of the Blue Eagles, reported to have lost his phone, charger, soap and money. Room 2, the room where Birer is staying, had the most lost items during the stealing, according to the occupants.
“Nawara an akon cellphone, charger, sabon ngan 700 pesos nga kwarta. Ginpamakianhan man kami kun hino nagkawawad-an tapos ginlista tapos nahibaruan nga diri la kami an nagkawawad-an, pati ha iba nga rooms, damo liwat.”
(My phone, charger, soap and 700.00Php were stolen. We discovered that there were many of us who lost our things after the police asked us to describe all the lost items.)
Christopher Baldespinosa, 21, the General Athletic Manager (GAM) of VSU Alangalang, expressed despair for what happened to his team. He asked why there were no any ROTC officers deployed to guard their quarters, a practice in previous years.
“Pag alas-tres na pag-parade, kumadto kami tanan. Nag-expect liwat kami nga may mga faculty nga mag-bantay [ha quarters] kay last year kasi didi liwat kami nag-stay waray man nahinabo nga kawat. Last year liwat, may bantay nga mga ROTC. An point namon, yana kay ano waray ROTC nga nagbantay?”
(We all went to the parade at 3:00 PM. We were expecting that some faculty will guard our quarters since that's what they did the last time we were here. We have always been housed here the past intramural games and there were no cases of theft that happened. There were ROTC officers who guarded our quarters before, why aren't there any this time?)
Security agent Virgilio S. Cañada said that they were not informed of the arrival of delegates from VSU's branch campuses.
"The Security & Safety Office didn’t know that the branch campuses are housing the VLHS buildings. We only knew after they called us reporting that they were robbed," Cañada said in a mix of English and Cebuano.
Andrew A. Mazo, IHK Sports Coordinator, explained that ROTC officers can’t be deployed to certain areas easily since they are just students.
“Ang ROTC man gud, we could not just easily require them because they are just students. Di gud mi maka-impose nga magbantay gyud kay voluntary man na ang ila.”
(We could not easily deploy ROTC officers to guard certain areas because they are just students. They must volunteer themselves.)
Baldespinosa also pointed out why there were no padlocks given to them before the parade.
“Naghatag na hira padlock pagkatapos han kawat,” the Alangalang GAM said.
(They only gave us padlocks after the stealing happened.)
Mazo said that it was the duty of every occupant to take care of their personal belongings given that the faculty of VLHS buildings didn't provide the padlocks.
"As far as I know, the rooms of VLHS buildings already have padlocks and door knobs. The faculty assigned to those rooms entrusted their rooms to our visitors without the locks since it was posted in the house rules that valuable things like money and phone must be attended by their owners."
Baldespinosa said that their team has encountered enough problems and the robbery has made the team’s current state more difficult.
"We have encountered problems before we were able to join this year's intramurals. We had difficulties acquiring our uniforms. We also met problems submitting our medical certificates on time since VSU Alangalang don't have available facilities to accommodate medical examinations. One week was not enough to get our CBC results. Good thing the doctor still allowed us to participate in the games. About 20 of our people were robbed. The biggest amount taken was 1, 200.00Php, coming from one person.”
Baldespinosa also expressed disapproval with the way high school students easily get access to enter their quarters even when their team is housing the building.
"If this quarter was assigned for VSU-Alangalang, then we should be the only ones who can enter and exit the area. With the high school students around, the chances are, we will have difficulties identifying the thief."
The team was given assurance by the police and VSU security office that measures will be done to find the culprit.
“The police said they will write a letter to get a CCTV footage,” Baldespinosa said.
As of now, the security team, led by Cañada, is coordinating with different local agencies in Baybay to make the investigations faster.
“We have already coordinated with the Barangay Captain of Brgy. Utod. We assigned people to guard the Hostel and the Spillway. We also got a list of the lost items then we coordinated with all the cell shops and pawn shops of Baybay to ask help for monitoring. As of now, we haven’t received any reports yet but we just got an information saying the thief returned a phone in the quarters of Alangalang. We are still to confirm that.”
Cañada said that they advised the athletes to always wear ID’s whenever they enter and exit their quarters to ensure the monitoring of people accessing their area.
“We advised all the students and athletes to wear ID’s so that at least they will know kung ang musulod taga-Alangalang ba or dili [if it’s their people].”
According to the security agent, VSU is facing more problems than robbery. He believes that this is brought by the intruding of outsider groups messing with the facilities and objects inside the university. These people are wrecking motorcycle of students into parts and vandalizing the comfort rooms of the school.
“Modus siguro ni nila karon kay gabii gane dia na pud nahitabo – mga upat nga motor didto sa upper campus ang gipangguba ang mga gasolinador, gipangtangtang ang mga parte. Naa sad mga vandalism daw diri sa ato mga CR.”
(We suspect that this is a modus operandi by some group because we also received a report last night. It said that about four motorcycle in the upper campus were wrecked, the gas tanks and other parts were removed. There were also reports of vandalism in the comfort rooms of the university.)
Mr. Mazo, Intramurals Sports Coordinator, expressed his apologies for what happened and advised everyone to be vigilant in guarding their valuable things.
“On behalf of the IHK, I would like to apologize for what happened. The only sure thing we could do is keep our valuable things with us wherever we go. Deterrence na lang ang ato kay wala ma’y makawat kung wala’y kawatonon [nobody can steal if there are no things to steal].”
As of today, the investigations of the security office and police are still ongoing.
Meanwhile, the other branch campuses, VSU Villaba, Tolosa, and Isabel, reported no occurrence of theft in their quarters.