CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – The Jesuit-run Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan has suspended some of its face-to-face classes beginning Thursday, September 1, over what it described as alarming criminal cases in the city.
The move came after a habal-habal (motorcycle taxi) driver was stabbed dead on Wednesday night, August 31, on Archbishop Hayes Street in Barangay 40, just outside the university campus and near a police precinct.
The killing, which began with a brawl between two habal-habal drivers who quarreled over passengers, was caught on video by a passerby. The video subsequently went viral on social media and sparked an uproar.
Xavier-Ateneo vice president for higher education Juliet Dalagan issued a memorandum, suspending the university’s face-to-face late afternoon and evening classes for nine days.
Dalagan said classes, scheduled from 4:30 pm and onwards, would revert online from September 1 to September 9.
The university said it had to resort to suspending face-to-face classes because the university did not want students exposed to risks.
The face-to-face classes will resume after the school’s administration is done appraising the situation and sees it safe, Dalagan said.
City hall, however, downplayed the habal-habal driver’s stabbing incident, calling it and other recent crimes committed in the city as “isolated cases.”
Bencyrus Ellorin, the overseer of Mayor Rolando Uy’s communications group, said the data culled by the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office showed a decrease in the city’s crime rate.
Ellorin said the police recorded only three crime incidents in the past week.
He said the city also logged an average of seven crimes in the last three weeks, an “all-time low” crime rate in the city.
Ellorin also assured the university that crime prevention remained a top agenda of the Uy administration.
The city government cited police data after Xavier-Ateneo’s Central Student Government sounded alarm bells over a string of crimes in Cagayan de Oro in recent weeks.
Before Wednesday’s killing of 30-year-old habal-habal driver Rolando Camansi outside the Xavier-Ateneo campus, the student group said several crimes committed in the city already caught its attention, such as the rape and murder of a couple in Barangay Lapasan and the killing of a young parking aide near the university.
Lieutenant Colonel Surki Sereñas, deputy director of the Cagayan de Oro police, said most of the criminal cases were solved, and a suspect in Camansi’s stabbing death had been identified.
He said the police were looking for 45-year-old Jesus Delit from the village of Balulang who remains at large as of this posting.
“The suspect’s family is cooperating with the authorities to bring the suspect to the bar of the law and answer for his crime,” Sereñas said.
He added, “If we have not prevented it, we will investigate and solve it,” Sereñas said.
Sereñas claimed that 98% of the total index crimes in the city from January to July this year were already closed cases.
“Cagayan de Oro is still a peaceful place,” Sereñas said.
The local police called for “calm and understanding,” and for the public “to be circumspect in their statements while authorities endeavor to synergize appropriate interventions to the present situation.”
“Further, we invite our fellow Kagay-anons to get the facts straight before making generalizations,” Sereñas said. – Rappler.com