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Rough Cuts | Davao’s version of the Cagsawa ruins?

Late last week we wrote about the cancellation of schools in-campus and off campus activities where huge number of students and teachers were expected to converge. This is in compliance with a Department Memorandum by the Secretary of Education which order is part of the government’s preventive measures against the corona virus disease 2019 (CoViD 2019).

One public high school immediately announced the cancellation of its Junior and Senior’s prom scheduled on February 29. Before the decision to quit pursuing the holding of the activity involving Grades 9 and 10 students, the school has already collected the P1,500 fee from each participant student. The school has also paid a down payment to the hotel where the prom is to be held.

When the cancellation was advised to the hotel management the latter informed the school administration that it will not refund the full amount paid in advance.

Naturally the parents complained since P1,500 is already big money these days. We already heard talks that some of the parents were planning to bring their case to the attention of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

Apparently the hotel management may have realized what such complaint would bring to their operation. Thus, last Friday, the management informed the school administration that it was refunding the entire amount advanced.

But of course! What reason will the hotel management give to the school if it will insist on withholding a portion of the down payment? For certain it has not yet spent a single centavo to buy something to be used for the holding of the prom. It’s still two weeks away.

Good thing that the hotel management has realized what such action could do to the establishment’s operation if the school or the parents will take legal action against the establishment, especially if they turn to the mayor for intervention.

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Yesterday afternoon on our way back home from downtown Davao City we again passed by an interior road where the back portion of the old buildings of SPED Elementary School in Bangkal can be seen.

And we could not help but be frustrated again upon seeing the sorry state of the single story Marcos type school buildings, the first among the buildings constructed in that campus of Davao City’s Special Education School in Bangkal.

Since four years ago we were already informed that a new multi-storey school building will be erected to replace the original structures. But after three years not a single post has been erected. However, several parents were optimistic that the project was due for realization in the current school year. This was because during the enrollment period for school year 2019-2020 classes at SPED Bangkal Elementary Department were divided into two sessions. That is from 6:30 in the morning to 12 noon and another batch from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The reason given in dividing the classes into two sessions was that the old buildings were to be demolished to give way to the construction of the new one that will house several classrooms.

Now the school year 2019-2020 is already in its dying days. But still there are no signs indicating that construction work would start soon.

Whatever is holding the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) from implementing the school project in that supposed elite public elementary school in the city, we just do not have any idea.

Even the school management has not been transparent as to the status of the project.

Yes, seeing the original buildings of the SPED appearing to be half buried if viewed from the back is very frustrating. The school is Alma Mater to two of our own children and now to two of our grandkids.

That is why we could not help but wonder why the DepEd seems to have relegated the school’s elite status into just one among the ordinary venues for public education. That is, appearance wise of its school buildings except for those constructed later after its opening in Bangkal.

Many parents express their envy at the Mintal Central Elementary School in Mintal. The classes are all housed inside brand new buildings fully painted and fenced. Even the Tacunan National High School, the inception of which came in much later than SPED elementary department, is now site of educational structures that speak of very conducive environment for learners.

What sayeth DepEd XI? My former colleague in the broadcast media Jenielito “Dodong” Atillo is very much welcome to shed light on the “mystery” surrounding the delayed replacement of the unsightly, old, and dilapidated buildings at Bangkal SPED.

It’s actually fast turning into the Davao version of the Cagsawa ruins in Albay — half buried in the grounds.

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