Old Bayambang school site returning to life
BAYAMBANG, Pangasinan—Twenty newly painted classrooms of the Bayambang Central School are ready to readmit its old students. The doors, windows and roofs, which were destroyed when the 100-year-old school was abandoned in October 2013, have all been repaired.
The new desks, teacher’s tables and chairs and blackboards—all donated by businessmen and government official—are pushed on one side of each room.
In front of the school building, the parents keep the yard clean and cook their simple lunch of rice and vegetable broth under the mango trees.
But save for their chatter, the campus is deafeningly quiet.
It has been four months since businessman Willy Chua threatened to retake his 2.2-hectare property in Barangay Bical here which he swapped with the 3.1-hectare old campus along the national road in the Poblacion.
Classes are still being held at Chua’s compound since the school transferred there in October 2013, because of a court order.
Mayor Ricardo Camacho had petitioned the court to enforce the transfer after the Department of Education (DepEd) refused to heed his decision to swap the old school site with Chua’s property.
However, Chua said the government has not relinquished the old school site to him. He gave the local government 15 days to turn over the old campus to him or he would reclaim his old compound.
But he did not take action after his deadline lapsed.
“We moved heaven and earth to prepare the old campus so it would be ready for the students and teachers if Chua made good on his threat,” said Filipinas Alcantara, president of the BCS Parents Teachers Association.
Businessmen contributed funds and parents and residents contributed free labor to repair the classrooms.
“Now that the old campus is ready, why is Chua quiet? Why won’t he drive the students and teachers away from his property so they can return to the old campus?” Alcantara said.
The DepEd had asked the Court of Appeals to lift the local court’s injunction and allow the school to return to the old site.
“We are still waiting for the court’s decision,” Alcantara said.
She had also filed administrative and criminal complaints in the Office of the Ombudsman against Camacho for the land swap deal.
In a report in Inquirer in November last year, the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag) donated P400,000 and ex-Rep. Mark Cojuangco gave P1 million to repair and rehabilitate the old school site.
Among the business and agricultural groups that donated armchairs, tables and chairs are the association of Bulacan hog farmers, Pigrolac Feeds, National Federation of Hog Farmers and Abono.
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