"AMBI imong ID. (Give me your ID.)"
This is a line most students find annoying to hear upon entering the campus from security personnel assigned to monitor their entry. For reasons such as: not wearing a complete uniform; having colored hair; too many earrings; and many more.
For students and graduates of Holy Cross of Davao College (HCDC), their college days won't be memorable without encountering the disciplinary actions of these people.
However, there is one person most Holy Crossians know for being strict. And she goes by the name of "Chief Ubas" or Villarica Ubas in real life.
Prior to working for HCDC, she worked also as a security guard for a leading shopping mall in Tagum City, Davao del Norte for years. In 2005, she worked for the school, where she had become a well-known personality within the school community.
For 17 years, Ubas cannot recall how many IDs from students she has confiscated for violating the school's policy.
Love her or hate her, the so-called strict security guard explained she is just doing her job.
"Lisod kaayo ang maggwardya ka kay daghang mga polisiya nga against mga studyante (It is hard to be a security guard because there are school policies that the students are against with)," she told SunStar Davao in an interview.
In every school or every part of society, she said there will always be that person who wants to defy existing policies. In her case, despite explaining to them, students seem to have their own way of not abiding by the school rules.
"Naa gyud mga estudyante nga masuko sa amoa tapos ingnan mga istrikto kaayo mi (Some students would be mad at us for being strict)," Ubas said.
Patience is a virtue, as she would insert quickly, even if some students would even curse at them. So if they can't be disciplined by a verbal warning, she said they have no choice but to confiscate their ID and have them report to the Office of the Student Affairs.
"Kung dili man gud namo na tumanon, kami makasab-an sa management kay wala namo gituman ilang polisiya (At the end, we would be scolded by the management if we won’t be imposing the policies they laid down)," she said.
While some students hate her for that, others understand that it is only part of her job. There are no hard feelings. In fact, some of them would eventually become close friends.
“Ma-close na gyud nako sila hangtod sa mahuman sa ilang eskwela (We would be close friends until they graduate),” she said.
Among conversations among alumni, having their IDs confiscated by Ubas is a shared experience. Meme photos about her had also surfaced on social media, eliciting laughter among Holy Crossians while reminiscing their experience. Ubas said she is aware of it and she would just laugh about it.
Strict as some would see her in school, Ubas said she is not a total killjoy. She would even laugh about it whenever people would think that she is also strict outside work.
“Di gyud ko ana ka istrikta sa balay. Bisag naay laing tao. Unless siguro awayon ko (I am not that strict at home, even to other people. Not unless they would start a fight with me),” she laughed while sharing.
Ubas said she has different ways of disciplining her children at home from the students she encountered inside the campus.
“Lahi ang sa eskwelahan ug sa pagkainahan sa balay, pero kung sa trabaho, lahi gyud imo pagka-istrikta (My strictness has a boundary at home and in school),” she said.
Despite having a different setup, Ubas treats students as if they were her children since it is her responsibility as well to discipline and protect them.
She always reiterates to her children the importance of finishing a degree, especially today with the current economic crisis.
“Ginabalik-balik nako og remind akong anak nga bahala og pobre ‘ta basta makahuman mo og eskwela. Mao ra gyud na akong gipangayo sa ilaha (I always remind my children that we might not be financially stable, but what matters is that you finish your studies. That is all I’m asking for),” Ubas said.
This also goes to the students, who have a soft spot on her heart. That is why it also pains her to hear some of them quit due to various reasons. As long as she could, she would always motivate them to finish their studies.
Being a mother of four kids, two of them had already graduated.
Recently, her second child, Christy, graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration Major in Financial Management on July 29.
During that day, she was on duty inside the campus. Initially, it was her husband who was supposed to join her in the marching rites. But due to emergency errands, she had to leave her post as a guard for a while, and accompany her daughter.
Admittedly, she wasn’t prepared on that day. Despite that, she marched beside her daughter wearing her security guard uniform.
The moment she and her daughter marched the aisle, cheers from other graduating students roared through the venue.
Ubas felt humbled to see that her daughter felt proud of her.
“Nalipay ko nga nakamartsa ko bisan naka-uniform ko. Na-feel gyud nako nga wala naulaw ang anak sa akoa (I am so happy that I was able to march beside my daughter despite me only wearing my work uniform. I felt that my daughter was never ashamed of me),” she said.
Congratulatory messages poured in from alumni on her Facebook post, where she shared a photo of her with her daughter.
“Salamat sa ginoo nakahuman na gyod ang akong anak (I thank God that my daughter already graduated college),” she wrote on her post.
Ubas said she remains overwhelmed by the support she received from fellow Holy Crossians, even those who already graduated years back.
“Nalipay ko nga nalipay sila makakita sila sa akong achievement isip usa ka inahan despite sa akong kastrikta (I am also happy that they are proud of my achievement as a mother despite them knowing me as a strict guard),” she said.
She also thanked the school management for their support to her children’s education. RGL