Sunday, May 9, 2010

School Classroom Burned Down in CamSur, Voting Machines Are Safe

CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, CamSur – A school classroom in Camarines Sur was burned down by unknown arsonists in Sipocot, Camarines Sur at around 12:30am yesterday, May 8,2010, a military report said.

Major Harold M Cabunoc, Division Spokesperson, said that one classroom of the Sipocot South Central School was set on fire at past midnight, coincided with the power interruption.

Mrs Blesilda Delos Llagas, a school teacher of Sipocot town said that the burned classroom was located about 100m behind the school principal’s office which contained some PCOS machines.

Delos Llagas believed that the PCOS machines were not the target of the arsonists. She revealed that there had been similar incidents of forced-entry and burglary in the same school for the past years.

“The voting machines are tightly guarded by “tanod-bayan” personnel and some policemen. The incident transpired during the power blackout and there are also suspicions that someone has left a lighted candle in that classroom,” said Delos Llagas.

LtCol Luis Rex Bergante, Commander of the 31st Infantry Battalion based in Sipocot town, immediately dispatched soldiers to investigate the burning incident.

The soldiers promptly conducted pursuit operations and thorough investigation together with the personnel from Bureau of Fire Protection.

“The BFP declared ‘fire out’ within the hour of the incident. The estimated cost of damage was placed at around P20,000.00. The burnt materials include 200 books, an electric stand fan and plastic chairs,” said Bergante.

“Our intelligence operatives learned that there had been an existing business rivalries involving some school teachers and private individuals which had escalated for over a year now. The burning of this classroom could be an act of intimidation against the teachers by their business rivals ”.

Colonel Cirilo Teodoro Torralba, Commander of the 902nd Brigade which has jurisdiction over Camarines Sur, immediately directed the 31st Infantry Battalion to conduct further investigation.

Torralba also ordered his troops to conduct security patrols in the vicinity of all other schools which are used as polling centers to prevent similar incidents from happening.

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