Mayor appeals for fight against corruption

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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet– Baguio City Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong urged education officials and local chief executives in the different parts of the Cordillera to help in the government’s intensified anti-corruption campaign to ensure that the school buildings that will be constructed will be in accordance to the project plans and specifications.

Magalong attended the turnover of the service vehicles, laptop computers and drones to the regional and 8 division offices of the Cordillera Thursday morning at the Benguet SPED Center in Wangal here.

He disclosed that in Baguio City, there are some six schools that were previously inspected by the local government’s project monitoring team and were found out to be allegedly substandard.

The local chief executive stated that the substandard school buildings and other infrastructure projects of the education department poses a serious threat to the safety of both the students and the teachers, especially during the occurrence of earthquakes, thus, there should be a holistic approach in the government’s anti-corruption campaign that will involve the education officials and local government officers.

The city mayor stipulated that local officials are willing to give up their perks and benefits just to ensure that the implementation of major infrastructure projects will conform with the project standards and specifications that had been prepared by the technical personnel for the said projects.

According to him, one of the problematic structures that were found to be allegedly substandard is the building of the Baguio City Science High School that is reportedly full of defects and for the concerned government agencies to institute the appropriate corrective measures to prevent the life and limb of students and teachers from being compromised.

He also questioned on why the contractors of the various substandard school building projects were paid despite the evident effects in the structures that had been erected in the different parts of Baguio city.

However, Education Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del B. Pascua explained that there are existing processes and procedures in the identification and implementation of school building projects that had been put in place and are being strictly followed by the agency.

For new constructions, he said that it is the education department that identifies the project site while it is the public works department that provides the funds and subsequently implements the programmed projects under the government’s national expenditure program enshrined under the annual budget approved by Congress and signed into law by the President.

Undersecretary Pascua added that once the project will be completed, it will be the head of the division, upon the recommendation of the technical personnel, that will formally accept the project that will be occupied by the students and teachers.

For repairs of school buildings, the education official asserted that it is the agency that is in charge of implementation repairs on the said structures with the direct supervision of heads of divisions and their technical personnel. By Dexter A. See