BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB-CAR) ruled that a portion of the 8,559-square meter property which is being proposed as a site for the put up of a two-storey six-classroom schoolbuilding of the Country Club village Elementary School is safe for the project provided that proponents must conduct the necessary soil test to ascertain the carrying capacity of the land area.
Engr. Fay W. Apil, MGB-CAR regional director, said that what is feasible to be constructed within the western and southern portion of the land area are basketball courts and other small structures while the eastern portion was declared safe for the put up of the schoolbuilding with the appropriate institution of the necessary mitigating measures.
“We want all sectors to understand our position in this matter. We do not want that our office is being used as a reason to delay the construction of the schoolbuiding for the children of Country Club Village barangay,”Apil stressed.
The MGB-CAR report was furnished the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA), its subsidiary the John Hay Management Committee (JHMC), the city government, the Department of Public works and Highways – Baguio City District Engineering Office (DPWH-BCDEO), the Department of Education Division of City Schools and the Country Club Village barangay for information and appropriate action.
Among the recommended mitigating measures in the put up of the Country Club Village Elementary School building are the establishment of the appropriate drainage system, the put up of the appropriate slope protection wall and the institution of pertinent measures that will re-direct run-off water to the main drainage facility.
The proposed school site is located on the northern slope of a hill characterized by a very steep slope and an indication of landslide reactivation and re-mobilization was noted on the mid-slopes of the old landslide escarpment.
Earlier, JHMC management again denied the request of city and barangay officials for the conduct of a soil test in order to ascertain the areas within the property which will be safe and where the schoolbuilding will be erected considering that the Department of Education already programmed a P10.4 million budget for the said school structure.
Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan expressed disappointment over the continuous refusal of BCDA and JHMC to allow the exploration team commissioned by the DPWH-BCDEO to conduct the soil test in order to determine the areas safe for the said structure and to pinpoint the appropriate mitigating measures that will be put in place, saying that JHMC is obstructing the put up of the school building for the benefit of the children which is not in consonance with the Aquino administration’s transparent and good governance.
The local chief executive underscored that JHMC has no more reason to deny the entry of the exploration team in the area because the MGB-CAR report will speak for itself where it already identified the hazardous and safe areas contrary to the invocation of JHMC management that the whole area is allegedly not safe for the put up of the school building.
“The experts have now spoken on the real status of the land which the city previously identified for school site. There is no compelling reason why JHMC will deny the entry of our exploration team to pursue the mandated soil test pursuant to the MGB-CAR detailed report,” Domogan stressed.
The city mayor underscored the importance of the soil test in formulating the design of the structure to be built, saying that time is of the essence to make sure that the pupils of the school will be occupying their new structure at the start of the school year by June.
Barangay officials, parents and teachers of Country Club Village petitioned the city government to exert all available legal means to compel JHMC to allow the conduct of the soil test so that the DPWH-BCDE and the winning contractor will be able to fully implement the delayed schoolbui8lding project to prevent the funds from reverting to the general fund and affecting the performance of the implementing agency.
It can be recalled that during their appearance before the city council last July 2015, BCDA president and chief executive officer Arnel Paciano Casanova and JHMC president Jamie Eloise M. Agbayani agreed to respect the 19 conditions imposed by the city government for the development of Camp John Hay that includes the segregation of the 14 barangays within the reservation but both officials seem to have forgotten their commitment by constantly denying the request for the conduct of soil test by the exploration team commissioned for the purpose.
By Dexter A. See