Makati: Taguig tried to take over public schools

Daphne Galvez - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Makati City government plans to file criminal and administrative charges for an alleged “forcible attempt” by the Taguig City government to take over public schools located in disputed barangays on Friday night.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court affirmed that the 729-hectare Bonifacio Global City and 10 barangays in Makati’s second district are within Taguig’s jurisdiction.

According to Makati city administrator Claro Certeza, several “enforcers” from Taguig’s public safety department attempted to “forcibly take possession” of several public elementary and high school buildings in the enlisted men’s barrios or “embo” barangays.

He said these enforcers, who did not possess any writ of execution or any other lawful order, “created unnecessary tension in these areas.”

“Taguig’s action is an act of duplicity and bad faith,” Certeza said in a statement.

Makati said it has created a transition team after Taguig requested discussions for a smooth transition.

Certeza said Makati was ready to “offer arrangements that would benefit the students but in light of the recent incident, Taguig is “apparently not sincere and was in reality intent on using force.”

He added that public schools are owned by the Makati government, which shouldered building improvements.

“The decision of the Supreme Court involved a boundary dispute. It did not transfer to Taguig ownership of properties owned by the city of Makati,” Certeza said.

“Taguig’s attempt to unlawfully enter and take possession of properties owned by Makati shall be treated as a criminal act and Makati shall be constrained to institute the appropriate criminal and administrative cases,” he added.

The public schools affected by the dispute are Makati Science High School, Comembo Elementary School, Rizal Elementary School, Pembo Elementary School, Benigno “Ninoy” S. Aquino High School, Tibagan High School, Fort Bonifacio Elementary School, Pitogo Elementary School, Pitogo High School, Cembo Elementary School, East Rembo Elementary School, West Rembo Elementary School and South Cembo Elementary School.

In a separate statement, the Taguig City government described Certeza’s claims as “misleading and patently false” and only aimed to “sow fear and uncertainty among the affected barangay’s residents.”

Taguig cited a memorandum order from the Department of Education that transfers the management and supervision of the schools from the DepEd Division of Makati to the Division of Taguig and Pateros.

In preparation for the opening of classes, Taguig said the DepEd superintendent of Taguig and Pateros asked the city government for assistance, which included the deployment of security personnel in schools.

However, Taguig claimed that Makati, along with a private security firm and some barangay officials, “illegally barricaded” the public schools and the streets.

“In at least one instance, a school principal was prevented from entering her own campus,” Taguig said.

Taguig also said it will continue to exercise its mandate and jurisdiction over the affected barangays in coordination with the local community leaders.

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