City Dads Opt for Basketball Court vs School Building

BAGUIO CITY — While the national government in its Daang Matuwid programs pushes forward to address the shortage and improve the existing facilities of schools and classrooms, officials here would rather have a covered court constructed than build the four storey-six classroom building for the Country Club Village Elementary School (CCVES) to be constructed by the Department of Education (Deped).

In a meeting in June 2015, city government officials led by Mayor Mauricio Domogan and Congressman Nicasio Aliping Jr. expressed opposition to the school building construction on the basketball court and maintained their position that any school building to be built in Country Club Village be constructed on the adjacent lot as identified by the City Land Needs and Identification Committee.

“Sayang ang space”, the mayor pointed out to the barangay officials.

Safety of children
But the lot identified and being pushed by the city is highly susceptible to landslides and other forms of instabilities as reported by the Cordillera Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).

Geologist Benigno Cesar Espejo in a February 13, 2012 report to MGB Officer-in-charge Orlando Pineda Sr., said “the subject area is underlain by the conglomerate member of the Klondyke Formation as exposed by the excavation done within the property. Locally it shows thick soil cover, believed to be the product of in-situ weathering of the underlying lithologic unit. Moreover, landslide deposits were noted on the middle to western portion of the property.”

Based on the findings and observations,” the western to middle portion of the lot where the temporary school building was constructed (PLAN surveyed for Country Club Barangay with lot area of 8,559 square meters) is highly susceptible to landslide and other forms of instabilities and therefore is not suitable for a school site. It is instead recommended to be utilized as an open space.”

Following the meeting with city officials in June 2015, government-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority’s (BCDA) subsidiary John Hay Management Corporation (JHMC), which is charged to handle the affairs of the John Hay Reservation Area (JHRA), again requested the MGB to do a re- assessment on the identified site.

In November 2015, Geologist Kevin Gaerlan reiterated the earlier findings of the MGB and again said that “an indication of landslide reactivation/ remobilization was noted on the mid-slope of the old landslide escarpment.”

He added that “the proponents should consider in their design the identified hazards in the areas such as it is within an old landslide terrain, underlain by old landslide deposits in on to present indication of reactivation of the old landslide.

The report further stated that “based on the above findings, the recommendations mentioned in the previous reports is hereby reiterated. If the proponent still opt to construct the proposed covered basketball court on the present site of temporary school buildings, the proponents should consider in their design the identified hazards in the area such as; it is within an old landslide terrain, underlain by old landslide deposits in addition to present indication of reactivation of the old landslide. Any damage to be incurred due to non-implementation of the above recommendations is the sole responsibility of the proponent.”

Owing to the due diligence function of the JHMC to protect the youth from any harm, it transmitted the MGB’s November 2015 geologic assessment report to the Department of Public Works and Highways Baguio District Engineering Office highlighting the MGB’s recommendation to use the city proposed location of the school as an open space.

Better classrooms
Country Club Village Barangay Captain Gil Lomboy described the present school as a “makeshift” structure for Grades 1 to 6, and the kindergarten and nursery pupils of the CCVES, which has a population of more than 220.

Aside from it being dilapidated, students also complain that their learning is affected especially when it rains, because they can hardly hear each other.

He related a story about tourists who were horse-back riding whom he met on the road. They asked where their school is and he pointed at the present building, to which the tourists said, “sabihin niyo sa Kapitan niyo sumulat sa gobyerno para magkaroon kayo ng matinong eskwelahan.”

This story was engraved in his mind, reason why he pushes for the construction of a school that is conducive to learning, and where the students’ safety can be assured. He said the mayor opts to use another area, instead of the basketball court to erect the school building.

The construction of the four-storey six classroom structure with a provision for open space that can be utilized for activities will replace the present dilapidated classrooms.

The DepEd structure will have a building footprint of more or less 270 square meters with the first, second and third floors utilized as classrooms for grades 1 to 6 and the fourth floor as a multi-purpose hall.

With the lot being within CJHRA the Board of Directors of John Hay Management Corporation (JHMC), the administrator of the property, approved a resolution during its March 13, 2011 special board meeting, allowing use of the lot for the purpose of the DepEd’s construction of a school building for the CCVES.

The use of the site was reiterated in the September 21, 2014 barangay resolution unanimously approved by the incumbent barangay council saying “resolved to approve the basketball court as the site for the school building of the Country Club Village Elementary School.”

This was followed by the signing of a Deed of Usufruct (DOU) between the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA), who owns the lot, the JHMC as administrator, and the Department of Education through Secretary Armin Luistro, the user of the lot, who will also construct the school building. The DOU specifically states that change in the utilization of the lot will cause termination of the agreement between the BCDA and the DepEd, the property automatically reverting to BCDA.

DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro approved the DOU in August 2013.

Even the President of the Parents, Teachers’ Community Association (PTCA) of the CCVES, Devy Rose Mey-ang together with the President of the Supreme Student Government of the school in a letter in 2014 spoke of the barangay’s continued support for the school, approving the use of the basketball court to give way to the school.

They said that upon completion, it will give parents a breathing space as it will also lower the transportation expense of the students in going to school, and will be more conducive for the learning of the students.

Why push for a covered court
Mayor Mauricio Domogan said that the fund for the construction of a covered court is ready thus it should proceed using the lot where the basketball court is situated and relocate the school building to the adjacent lot. The shortage of classrooms in the Country Club Village Elementary School (CCVES) can be addressed by making temporary classrooms instead of a permanent school building.

This was the mayor’s stand during the June 25 meeting to tackle the opposition raised by former CCVES barangay captain Dencio Almag and some other residents for to the construction of a Department of Education’s (DepEd) four storey six-classroom building where at present the basketball court of the barangay is located.

In 2010, Almag himself approved Barangay Resolution 06-2010 titled “A resolution of the Sangguniang Barangay approving the use of the basketball court as the site for a multi-purpose structure enclosing the school building of Baguio Country Club Village Primary School and a basketball court.”

However,when all was set to construct the school building, Almag suddenly opposed the implementation of said barangay resolution which he himself cduring his incumbency.

In prioritizing the covered court, the officials instead proposed that the school building utilize the adjacent property, which the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in studies made in 2012 and 2015 declared as landslide prone and unstable./BCDA-PR


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