Undetermined units of solar panels and deep cycle batteries used to power up computers were stolen from seven elementary and secondary public schools in two municipalities in southern Palawan.
Grace Estefano, information officer of the local Department of Education (DepEd), said Tuesday night that they are now seeking an investigation, with the help of the police, of “what appears to be a series of school burglary incidents” in Bataraza and Rizal towns.
“We’re currently completing the gathering of data regarding these incidents from the schools where the items were stolen. We’ve also told school administrators to report to the police and send us these reports so we can report them to our central office,” Estefano told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
Based on their initial findings, the burglarized schools in Bataraza are the 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 items were also stolen from Kininaman Elementary School, she said.
Estefano said buyers should be wary and look for proofs of origin and purchase from any seller to ensure that what they are buying are not the stolen solar panels and deep cycle batteries.
“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. We appeal to the public to give us information regarding anyone selling these solar panels and deep cycle batteries which were for use of the schools where they were distributed,” she said.
She said it is easy to identify the stolen equipment because they have stickers and unique irremovable serial numbers that indicate they are DepEd properties.
Estefano also said elementary and secondary school officials in municipalities in southern Palawan should be vigilant and report any individual who might be among the burglars.
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 (We need the help of the media so that nobody buys these solar panels and deep cycle batteries. If they buy these items, we will file cases against them),” 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. (PNA)