CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/04 June) – The principal of the Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School (MOGCHS) has expressed dismay over the alleged shabby treatment he got from members of the city council in its regular session last May 24.
Pedro Montejo said he was invited to the session to explain why he reportedly turned down City Hall’s offer to donate a classroom building to replace the one that burned down in April this year.
Montejo said he was hurt at how administration councilors Ian Mark Nacaya, Ramon Tabor, President Elipe and Emmanuel Abejuela berated him at the plenary hall for all in the gallery to see.
“Grabe ilang gibuhat. I (attended) the session to shed light on the issue that I reportedly refused to accept City Hall’s building donation. I explained but they refused to understand. Tuis-tuis jud ka,” he said.
Even city councilor Edgar Cabanlas expressed concern on how they berated and grilled “an esteemed member of the academic sector.”
“I was worried by the way they treated Montejo. He was put to shame. I think they really planned the whole thing, Cabanlas said in a separate interview.
“They insisted that Montejo indeed refused that donation. He was made a scapegoat. What they (councilors) did was uncalled for. People who are invited to appear at the City Council should be treated with respect,” he said.
“And there’s Calingin (Alvin) who acted like somebody in cross-examining Montejo,” Cabanlas said.
Montejo said that without notice, a three -man team visited his office and introduced themselves as contractors sent by City Hall to inspect the site for the new building the latter would donate.
“I suggested that they add on the Jaraula building because its foundation is designed for a three-storey building. They said they were in a hurry,” he said.
But Montejo said the contractors told him they had instructions to construct the new building over the one that burned. He explained that it would not be possible since the site is still being cleared.
“Upon visiting the site the contractors even saw that heavy equipment from the province were clearing the burnt debris,” he said.
The school official said that despite the treatment he got at the City Council he would not file defamation charges against the councilors.
“I didn’t commit a crime but they committed a crime against me. They defamed me but if I sue, what will I profit?” he said.
Montejo said his mandate comes from the Department of Education (DepEd) and not from the local government unit.
“They’re only going to give assistance. Anyway, DepEd 10 has committed to allocate funds for the construction of a three-storey building. DepEd is not neglecting us. It will be funded through the department’s quick funds. It won’t be long,” he said.
Meanwhile, Montejo said MOGCHS is prepared for the opening of classes even if they have lost one building to the fire.
He said that while at least 10,000 students enrolled for this school year, an 18-classroom building was finished just in time and is ready to use.
“There will be a simple turnover ceremony with Gov. Oscar Moreno on June 8. This building will also be a start in trying to make up for the other building which we lost to the fire last April,” Montejo said.
MOGCHS’ Atty. Aquilino Pimentel building, located under the left wing bleachers of Pelaez Sports Complex, burned to the ground last April 12. According to Montejo, the building housed 12 classrooms and 6 shops.
He said they had a well-participated “brigada eskwela” that prepared the classrooms, chairs and other facilities in the campus.
“We have also prepared our new 10-classroom building which will serve as our computer laboratory, equipped with 150 units of desktop computers,” he said.
However, because of the bulk of students they have for this year, Montejo said they will be implementing a double-session scheme. The first and second year students will attend their classes in the morning while the third and fourth year students will take the afternoon session.
“We are implementing this because we have an increase of five percent enrollees this school year,” he said. (Cong B. Corrales/MindaNews)