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Campus crime: Politiko asks PNP to tighten up security in schools

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A partylist lawmaker at the House of Representatives on Monday urged incoming Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Oscar Albayalde to intensify security measures in schools to address the rising incidents of theft and robbery of public schools’ computers and other equipment.

Kabayan Rep. Ron Salo said the latest anti-theft and anti-robbery measures of the Department of Education (DepEd) and the PNP for computers and other technical equipment distributed to schools are not enough.

“The theft and robbery of computers, CCTV equipment and LCD projectors have become more frequent in schools. Sometimes, a few high school students get caught with bringing weapons at school. There are several rape cases wherein students are the victims. There are also students who are victims of tokhang, drug syndicates, hazing, and street gangs,” Salo said.

DepEd has implemented countermeasures to deter theft and pilferage of the DepEd Computerization Program (DCP) equipment including changing the color of DCP-issued devices to blue, the public warning that the said packages are government property, and that mere possession of such outside of public schools can be ground for prosecution.

“Those measures are insufficient because thieves and robbers are creative and resourceful. The criminals would just chop-chop or ‘cannibalize’ the school computers, CCTV equipment, and LCD projectors and sell the parts to interested buyers,” Salo said.

“The thieves and robbers would just remove whatever markings and coverings the DepEd computers and equipment have,” he said.

The lawmaker said the PNP should be compiling the reports of their field offices so that the extent and depth of the theft problem can be ascertained and proper measures be put in place.

He said the PNP should report and update these cases to the DepEd Central Office and to Congress.

Salo noted that other agencies, such as the Department of Trade and Industry, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, should be informed of the modus operandi of these criminals to inform the concerned sectors and the public of such schemes.

“Schools, especially the public schools, are soft targets of thieves and robbers because of inadequate number of watchmen and security guards, poor perimeter security, and poorly lit surroundings. Most rooms where the computers and equipment are kept can be easily broken into,” Salo said. (PNA)