Davao Today

SANTO TOMAS, Davao del Norte — “I was at a wrong place and at the wrong time.”

Thus said Romel Alibo, 21, when Davao Today interviewed him and two other companions who were jailed last August 15 for attempting to steal copper cables.

Alibo, Jonie Javillo, 18, and Jomarie Esnardo, 21, were discovered cutting copper cable around midnight by a resident who alerted company security guards in Cadena de Amor St. at Feeder Road 3, Tibal-og village.

Copper cable wires owned by local telecommunication company Philcom-PLDT have been frequently stolen and sold in scrap markets for 200 pesos per kilo.

Alibo said it was his first time to steal copper cables as he is jobless and needed money for his family.

Wala man gyud unta ko plano mangawat ug copper cable, pero tungod lagi sa dakong panginahanglan nako sa kwarta kay wala man ko trabaho mao niapil ko sa plano na kawaton ang cable para mabaligya namo (I didn’t plan to steel the copper cable, but because I need money and I have no job, that’s why I joined in the plan to steal the cable so that we can sell it),” he told Davao Today.

Alibo said he only had a mother who took care of him and his five siblings since their father have abandoned them. As the second in his brood, he felt obligated to produce money to finance the daily subsistence of his family.

Mao bitaw sir mudiskarte gyud ko ug pangita ug kwarta para naa ko ikatabang sa akong pamilya, kay tungod lagi sa ka pobrehon namo labi na karon na pait kaayo, (That’s why I had to do something and find money so that I can help my family, we are poor and especially now we are struggling),” Alibo stressed.

The Philcom-PLDT filed formal complaints last Thursday against Alibo and his companions for theft before the Provincial Prosecution Office in Tagum City.

They would face charges at the Regional Trial Court of Panabo City for attempted theft under Article 308 in relation to Article 209 (1) and Article 6 of Revised Penal Code.

Albert Manalop, Customer Service Officer of Philcom-PLDT, told Davao Today that the amount of damaged copper cable from the attempted theft was worth 100,000 pesos.

He said the company has lost 300,000 pesos worth of 400 pairs of stolen cable last May and June.

The attempted theft shows that poverty-related crime is rampant in Santo Tomas, a first class town in Davao del Norte with a population of 109,000.(Mart D. Sambalud/

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