Stories of Change

Men at work: Construction of abandoned school buildings resumes

 April 23, 2019    

written by Jonathan Mongcal
beforePrevious and current status of the PPP-funded school building of Balulang NHS in Cagayan de Oro city.
CAGAYAN DE ORO– In March 2016, one of school issues encountered by the team were the two unfinished school buildings in Balulang National High School and West City Central School. In an interview with the school authorities, we learned that the school buildings were under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project of the government. These buildings were abandoned by the contractor for four years.
According to Bernardino Capangnan, Principal of Balulang NHS, they tried to follow up with the Department of Education (DepEd) but received no concrete response. They gave up tracking the status of the project because they had to prioritize more urgent needs of their students. I, personally, had no knowledge on PPP-funded projects. I didn’t even know which government agency to tap aside from DepEd. In my entire CMS experience, I doubted myself if I can lead my team to a solution to this problem.
3Community Development and Sociology students of Tagoloan Community College volunteer for CheckMySchool.
At the time, Community Development and Sociology students from Tagoloan Community College (TCC) in Misamis Oriental joined me in monitoring this issue as part of their immersion and involvement in governance.
But one day, while uploading the documentation of our school visits, a post about a newly inaugurated PPP Knowledge Hub appeared in my Facebook newsfeed. The hub is located at the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Regional Office 10. The next day, I went to the office and presented the issue. Engr. Jaime H. Pacampara of Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation Division of NEDA advised me to write a formal letter to their office. On May 25, 2018, 10 days after I sent the letter, I received a reply from NEDA on the status of the PPP projects in Balulang NHS and West Central ES. In the letter, the new timeline of project completion was December 2018.
(Watch: Unfinished PPP-funded school building to complete by year’s end)
afterProgress of work from August 2018 until April 2019.
NEDA also facilitated a meeting with Engr. Maria Fels Trompante of the Education Support Service Division, DepEd RO X. Engr. Trompante gave us a historical account of the PPP projects; what caused the delays and how to solve them from their end.
I visited the schools and relayed the information. I showed them the letter as well.
Months passed but there was still no progress on the construction of the abandoned school buildings. To my dismay, the buildings were still untouched from its previous structural when we first visited the schools. It was already October 2018– two months away from their promised completion date.
I wrote another letter, but this time addressed to Engr. Trompante, requesting for updates. I received a reply but her explanation was too technical. She assured me that she already reprimanded the contractor to resume construction.
2Update on Balulang NHS building, April 4, 2019.
Last week of January 2019, I received good news from Celso Pagulon, principal of West City Central School. He told me the construction finally resumed. I went to Balulang NHS as well to to check for progress. Evelyn Q. Sumando, the new school principal, entertained me during my visits. According to her, construction works resumed work on January 18, 2019.
As of writing, Engr. Elly Mamaclay of the City School Division and the DepEd Regional Office have been closely monitoring the projects. The target for completion of the two school buildings is in April 2019.
This is one of the school issue resolutions that made us proud being a part of CheckMySchool. For me, this is the best way to contribute to the improvement of our schools.

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