October 7, 2022

La Trinidad, Benguet plans to waive off fees and penalties in relation to the newly constructed school buildings in the municipality.

Mayor Romeo Salda said he has told the Department of Education-Cordillera to forward a request letter to the municipal government, asking for the waiving of fees and penalties from the processing of building permit. 

The LGU, DepEd, and representatives of the Department of Public Works and Highways Benguet First District Engineering Office held a meeting on Sept. 1 to discuss the turnover of new school buildings. 

Earlier, the DepEd said the non-turnover of the eight new school buildings was due to the lack of documents, such as building permits from the municipal government.

Salda said he also requested the DepEd to ask the DENR for the exemption of certificate of non-coverage over the comple-ted projects.

He said aside from the processing of building permits for a construction project, the CNC, which exempts a project from obtaining an environmental clearance certificate, is also a requirement under the municipality’s comprehensive land use plan.   

“We asked DepEd to request us for the exemption so that I can refer it to the sangguniang bayan, which can authorize me the authority for the exemption of the penalties and fees to be paid to the zoning,” Salda said.

Out of the eight new school buildings, the municipal government will process exemption of the three school buildings that were turned-over at Puguis Elementary School, Regional Science High School and at La Trinidad National High School.

It was also agreed during the meeting the contractors will still be liable for the repair of the school buildings, which were found to be needing repairs.

Benguet 1st DEO Officer-In-Charge Isagani Cayme recognized the school buildings, which were constructed in 2018 and 2019, did not have building permits from the municipality.

Cayme said that in the building code, there is a need for the DPWH to still process the building permit and other required documents from the municipality prior to the construction of a school building.

However, in the case of the school buildings in La Trinidad, the processing of the municipal requirements was not included in the pay items of the contractors.

He said if it was not included as pay items, it will be the DPWH who will supposedly handle the payment for the processing of the LGU requirements.

Cayme said the funding for the specific school building projects were already exhausted. 

DepEd-CAR Director Estela Cariño said while waiting for the processing of the required permits from the LGU, the learners can occupy the school buildings. She said the DPWH has also issued the certification for the safety of the school buildings. – Ofelia C. Empian