Burglars hit public schools in Bataraza, Rizal towns
The provincial office of the Department of Education (DepEd) is warning the public against buying solar panel units and deep cycle batteries that were burglarized from seven schools in Bataraza and Rizal towns. Grace Estefano, DepEd Palawan information officer, said late Tuesday that buyers should beware and should look for proofs of origin and purchase from any seller to affirm what are being peddled are not stolen. “What was done was theft of government properties, anyone who will buy these stolen items can be sued in court for violation of the anti-fencing law by DepEd. Kung binili mo ‘yan, reported na ‘yan sa mga barangay ang ‘yan at sa PNP, meaning to say bumili ka ng nakaw. We appeal to the public to give us information regarding anyone selling these solar panels and deep cycle batteries na gamit pang-eskwela kasi ‘yan ay nakaw,” she said. She explained if sold, it will be easy to identify the stolen items because they have stickers and unique irremovable serial numbers indicating they are DepEd properties. Estefano also said elementary and secondary school officials in municipalities in southern Palawan should be vigilant about their own equipment to prevent unscrupulous individuals in their localities from stealing them. Based on their records the burglarized schools in Bataraza town are Buliluyan National School, Tagmaya Elementary School, Peace and Development Community National High School, Sapa High School, Puring Elementary School, and Narra-Narra Elementary School. In Rizal municipality, the same equipment were also stolen from Kininaman Elementary School, she said. Estefano appealed to the local media to help spread the news to prevent innocent individuals from purchasing the stolen items and to report anyone who will be suspiciously selling them. “Kailangan din namin ng tulong ng media para walang bibili ng ganoong solar panel at deep cycle batteries. Kung bibilhin nila itong mga nakaw na bagay, puwede silang kasuhan ng gobyerno,” she stressed. She said the materials that were looted were distributed under the DepEd computerization program for use in remote elementary and secondary schools to power up computer desktops, laptops, and tablets. They only noticed it was already a series of burglary on November 19 when more solar panels went missing from the schools, she said. Estefano added DepEd Palawan has already issued a memorandum order to all concerned schools to submit their reports immediately for the incident to be reported to their central office. “Ipinapakuha na namin ang lahat ng details ng pangyayari sa mga schools na ito. Pati serial numbers, lahat-lahat, pati complaint na ini-report sa pulis para malaman namin kung ilan ang eksaktong bilang ng units na ninakaw, at para rin matulungan ng pulisya na hindi na ito mangyari ulit,” she said. She said the reports and all other data they need will be accomplished with the help of Kevin Marquez, their information and technology specialist. On Monday, Marquez posted about the burglary incidents on his social media account to help warn the public against purchasing the stolen solar panel units and deep cycle batteries in Bataraza and Rizal towns, southern Palawan.