Condo, mall projects in JASMS property on hold, says developer
MANILA, Philippines—The plan to redevelop the property currently occupied by the Jose Abad Santos Memorial School (JASMS) on Edsa in West Triangle, Quezon City, is on hold until the concerns raised by the students’ parents are addressed, according to the land developer tapped by the property owners.
“We are holding off any development until issues are settled between the landowner and the parents’ association,” said Nikie Lingad, project development manager of Amaia Land, in a text message Tuesday that was coursed through the corporate communications office of its mother company Ayala Land Inc.
The statement came days after parents opposed to the plan, who earlier took their complaints to City Hall, also asked the Environmental Management Bureau to withdraw the clearance it had issued to the developer.
Amaia Land was earlier announced as the partner of STI Education Systems Holdings Inc., which co-owns the property together with the Benitez family, in plans to build a 33-story condominium and a shopping mall on a large section of the 2.2-hectare JASMS campus.
But parents opposed to the developments noted that the new projects would reduce the school proper to a nine-story building taking up only 2,000 to 3,000 square meters of the property.
Last month, the JASMS Parents’ Association led by its president, Vicente Pijano III, wrote Mayor Herbert Bautista to express its strong opposition to the plan, saying the association was not consulted about it.
Pijano warned that the resulting campus environment would no longer be conducive to learning and would not be in keeping with JASMS’ stature as a school known for its progressive brand of education.
He noted that a third of JASMS students are children with special needs and that their parents should have been consulted about the plan as required under the Magna Carta for Disabled People.
The parents also urged the city council not to grant a zoning exemption for the construction until their concerns are addressed.
They later stepped up their campaign following the issuance of an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) on Oct. 15 to ALI regarding the redevelopment plan.
A copy of the ECC obtained by the parents showed that it was issued to ALI, represented by the chief of external affairs division Dindo Fernando, and signed by Vizminda Osorio, director of the EMB-National Capital Region office, and Wilfredo Rafanan, officer-in-charge of the EMB-NCR Environmental Impact Assessment and Monitoring Division.
The parents called for the ECC’s cancellation in a letter sent to the EMB-NCR on Oct. 27.
“The ECC was secured without any consultation with and approval of the teachers, students and their parents of JASMS QC, who make up the primary group that would be severely affected by the redevelopment,” the letter read. “How come Ayala Land did not insist on proper consultation with the community and other stakeholders like the parents, students, faculty and alumni prior to any acquisition or project?”
The parents’ association vice president, Raymond Indon, also asked: “How can a government agency even issue an ECC while there is a pending request for exemption from the zoning ordinance… in the Quezon City Council?”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.