The police has tagged a nine-year-old boy as suspect in the torching of two classrooms at the Loboc Central Elementary School in Barangay Poblacion, Loboc on Saturday last week.
The blaze which broke out at 10:00 a.m. and was declared fire-out at 10:30 a.m. left P300,000 in damages, said SPO1 Ric Cubero of the Loboc Police Station.
Authorities investigated the incident as an arson case after finding out that there was forced entry into one of the classrooms and that the fire started from a pieces of paper which appeared to have been intentionally clustered and set ablaze.
Cubero said that the fire started from the school’s kindergarten classroom before crossing over to the adjacent sixth grade classroom.
For his part, PO3 Urben Molina said that they initially pinpointed a group of four boys, aged nine to 10 who have been known to be involved in petty theft cases, as suspect but a closed-circuit television footage showed that only one of them entered the classroom before the fire started.
The nine-year-old boy who allegedly torched the classrooms was turned over by authorities to his parents while a “case study” by the police and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) was launched to determine how to intervene with the situation of the boy who is exempted from criminal liability.
The issue has raised concern from the local government unit prompting Loboc police chief Senior Insp. Rey Olar and Mayor Helen Calipusan-Alaba to personally visit the boy at his parents’ home to speak with him and conduct assessments with the DSWD.
“Kami sa PNP ug DSWD uban ni mayor mangita og paagi unsaon namo ni pag intervene kay kaning mga nine years old below, naa g’yuy criminal exclusion ni sila,” Molina said. “Gawas kung naay criminal liability, ang ginikanan maou mo-sagubang. Mao na sai Republic Act 9344 ug PD 603.”
The nine-year-old boy and his companions will also be subjected to an LGU-led reformation program aimed at keeping them from trouble and breaking the law.
“Makaapekto ni sa community. Kay kani sila prone na to [committing] crimes. Especially kay vulnerable ni sila kay mga bata. Kadto iyang mga kauban, gi apil nalag pud namo. Gi gam-an namo og profiling,” Molina added. (A. Doydora)