June 20, 2024

The Department of Education-Baguio has not abandoned plans of adding John Hay Elementary School (JHES) into the public school system, a DepEd official informed the city on Feb. 13.
City Schools Division Superintendent Federico Martin informed city officials that DepEd Baguio has recently inspected JHES but the classrooms do not fit the standards of the DepEd.
“The classrooms are not conducive for learning,” Martin said but qualified DepEd is not closing its doors to acquiring the school located at Barangay Scout Barrio, especially since the nearby open field is an ideal area for various activities of learners.
Martin said negotiations for the signing of a usufruct agreement with JHMC started even before he was appointed superintendent but the negotiations has been set aside because of the processes required by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, the mother agency of the JHMC.
“Ang dami kasing hierarchy sa BCDA that’s why it (talks) is taking really long,” Martin said on the comment of Councilor Vladimir Cayabas, chair of the committee on education, that JHES’s closure deprived learners of Scout Barrio and nearby barangays the chance of studying in a school that is close to their homes.
Martin said some learners transferred to nearby schools like the Laurel ES in Barangay Dagsian but acknowledged that if JHES is included in the public school system, funds will be allotted for its upgrade.
JHES, formerly the Camp John Hay Barrio School, was established in 1915 by the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a Roman Catholic religious institute of pontifical right of women, dedicated to the service of those in need in the Third World. Rev. MM Wenceslas was its school head and MM Hosanna as principal. The lot and the building belonged to the United States government.
In 1976, the Camp John Hay Barrio School was renamed John Hay ES.
In 1991, the U.S. government turned over to the Philippine government all its bases, including Camp John Hay and its 13 surrounding barangays.
JHES continued operating during the period but in recent years, the BCDA pursued reclamation of its properties, including the area where the school stands.
In April 2020, after 105 years of operation, JHES has ceased operation. The BCDA said JHES management failed to comply with government regulations regarding the operation of schools.
The building was reopened in May 2022 for the midterm elections but recently, the Commission on Elections announced that in the barangay elections in December, voting centers at JHES has been transferred at Laurel ES.
Right next to the JHES is the Scout Barrio open field, which, in 2019, was eyed as site for a hospital. Based on available records, the open field is part of the school and was intended by the founders as playground for schoolchildren.
Plans to build a hospital has been shelved but recently, residents complained about a public notice stating that use of open spaces in the community should be with permission of the BCDA-JHMC.
With the intervention of the city council, a resolution was passed asking Mayor Benjamin Magalong, Rep. Marquez Go, and BCDA-JHMC to have a dialogue with the residents about the use of open spaces in the barangay.
A date of meeting will be scheduled. – Rimaliza A. Opiña