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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, January 24, 2013
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‘Belgian was friend
to many students’

BY ADRIAN NEMES III

“He was such a dear friend to many of our students and a beloved addition to his host family (in Bacolod)”.

This was how Rodjhun Navarro, Head of the Office for Institutional Advancement and Linkages of La Consolacion College-Bacolod, yesterday described their Belgian student Matthieu Geurts.

Geurts, 18, a foreign exchange student under the American Field Service Organization who was working for a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree major in Digital Media, died after falling from the fifth floor of the Mother Rita Consuelo Barcelo Activity Center at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

“No one thought the incident would happen as Geurts had always been jolly and light hearted. We hope he will find the peace that he was seeking”, Navaro said.

Meanwhile, the official statement of the University of St. La Salle Bacolod, the host of the AFS local chapter, asked everyone to pray to God for the eternal repose of Geurts and for the comfort and strength of his family, friends and acquaintances.

“In the midst of our grief, all of us who have committed ourselves to the Christian education of the youth are reflective of the meaning of this tragic incident”, the USLS statement said.

“We call on all our AFS participants, partners, volunteers, and host families to remain strong and united and continue to care for and support each other especially in this very difficult moment”, it added.

Meanwhile, Senior Supt. Edgardo Ordaniel, City Police Officer-in-charge, said that they have not yet ruled out the angle of foul play in the death of Geurts, although what happened was apparently a suicide incident.

A note, written in French, was recovered from Geurts’ pocket and the police believe it was a suicide note, Station 1 commander, Chief Insp. Danilo Francisco, said.

Matthieu’s parents are set to arrive in Bacolod City this week to get his remains and bring them home to Belgium.

LCC-Bacolod is offering a mass for their departed student on January 31, while a debriefing activity was conducted yesterday for all those who had witnessed the tragedy.*APN

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