Where to now? The “lovely” atmosphere often seen in “Lovers’ Lane” could be a thing of the past, as the park may be closed to the public due to cases of vandalism.   Photo by Giannina Nicolai P. MelicorLOVERS, leave the trees alone.

A University official is irked by vandalism on trees at the newly renovated “Lovers’ Lane,” and has threatened to close the park to the public.

Fr. Roberto Pinto, O.P., director of the Facilities Management Office, has ordered two 30-foot Dita trees (Alstonia scholaris) at the Lovers’ Lane leading to the Plaza Mayor cordoned off to prevent further vandalism.

Names “Jane,” “Wei yi,” “Gecca,” “Cara,” “Xie,” “Jo,” “Gerry,” “Josh,” “Den,” “JM,” “Kyle,” and “Ishie” were engraved on the trees’ barks, which are ingredients for malaria fever medicines.

“I was tempted to close down the park in time for Valentine’s Day because of the vandalism,” Pinto said. “I already asked the guards to observe the bystanders in the park and sanction the ones who vandalize the park especially the trees.”

Although the markings have no effect on the bark as a medicine ingredient, they left “permanent” scars on the trees, Pinto said.

He said this was the first time for him to encounter such incidents on campus, calling them a “disgrace to the University” that prides itself for having healthy trees.

“I find it really ridiculous that people write their names on trees,” he added.

The student handbook states that students caught vandalizing properties of the University would be sent to the Students Welfare Development Board (SWDB) for disciplinary action.

SWDB Director Anita Garcia said the penalty would depend on the gravity of the offense and the nature of the property.

“So far, no one has filed a complaint regarding the trees. If ever we [are able to] identify the perpetrators [of vandalism], we will consult with Fr. Pinto to assist us in penalizing the offenders,” Garcia said.

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Restless memories

Security office detachment commander Joseph Badinas has ordered his men to monitor the Lovers’ Lane to avoid similar incidents.

Pinto said that if he had his way, he would put a sign pointing to the vandalized trees so “the ones responsible will be ashamed of what they did.”

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