November 28, 2022

The Department of Public Works and Highways Benguet 1st District Engineering Office has issued certification for the safe use of school buildings to be ready for occupancy in La Trinidad, Benguet.

SAFE FOR OCCUPANCY — The Department of Public Works and Highways Benguet 1st District has recently certified as safe the newly-constructed school buildings at the Benguet National High School in Wangal, La Trinidad. The DPWH, the Department of Education and the municipality of La Trinidad will soon set a joint meeting to iron out the issues surrounding the turnover of the classrooms, which were not yet occupied by students during the school opening on Aug. 22. — Ofelia Empian    

Benguet 1st DEO Officer-In-Charge Isagani Cayme said his office has already discussed with the Department of Education-Cordillera and DepEd Benguet division regarding the turnover of the school buildings.

This was following reports of the non-turnover of the various new school buildings in the municipality due to lack of documents such as building permits from the municipal government.

Cayme said it was impractical for the DPWH and DepEd to still get building permits from the LGU when the buildings were already constructed. 

The Benguet 1st DEO has agreed with DepEd to ask the municipal government to waive the fees in order for the school buildings to be turned over and used by the students.

Cayme has signed the certification for the two new four-story school buildings at Benguet National High School and the four-story building at Eastern La Trinidad National High School.

“We have agreed that the DPWH will issue certification the school buildings are safe for occupancy with a note that the repairs are still standing; we will still oblige the contractor to repair it,” Cayme said.

Under the Building Code, there is a need for the DPWH to still process the building permit and other required documents from the municipal government prior to the construction of a school building.

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

Cayme said if it was not included as pay items, it will be the DPWH who will handle the payment for the processing of the LGU requirements. The school buildings were already constructed prior to him being assigned to the Benguet 1st DEO.

DepEd-CAR Director Estela Cariño said the new school buildings are needed by the students, especially that the central office requires full implementation of in-person classes by November. 

“We must look into the urgency of the need for the school buildings,” Cariño said.

Both department heads said they will schedule a meeting with Mayor Romeo Salda to work out the need for the building permit of the new school buildings.

Salda’s meeting with the department heads was set on Sept. 1. – Ofelia C. Empian