Leyte public school padlocked

Students and teachers wait outside Maghubas Elementary School in Burauen town in Leyte on Wednesday morning after the school was padlocked due to land ownership conflicts. | PHTOGRAPH COURTESY OF GIL TAMAYO

TACLOBAN CITY — A conflict in land ownership led to the shutdown of a public school in Burauen, Leyte after it was padlocked by the heirs of the landowner and put a “no trespassing” sign on the gate.

The incident has left learners and teachers of the Maghubas Elementary School lingering at the side of the road on Wednesday morning.

School principal Herbert Del Pilar said teachers and elementary pupils waited for the gate to open.

“We managed to open the school gate past 8 a.m. with the help of local police and village officials. Early Wednesday, the claimant even threatened our students to stop coming to school. He has no court order to do that,” Del Pilar said.

“The family of the landowner was telling the children not to enter and observe the no trespassing sign so they stayed near the gate exposing them to risks since the school is along the highway,” he added.

The school principal said some children will be subject to stress debriefing by local social workers after they were traumatized by early morning chaos.

Reports said a certain Jimmy Pacala, whose house is next to the campus, padlocked the gate as he claimed that the property belongs to their family.

It added that Pacala’s grandfather donated the lot to the local government of Burauen in 1966, which was later designated as a school site in the same year. The campus is along the town’s primary road in Maghubas village.

Del Pilar said this is not the first time that the heirs of the landowners came to the school and caused trouble.

The school principal said the heirs are slowly taking back the land by creating structures that encroach the donated property destroying school projects like the Gulayan ng Paaralan.

Meantime, Department of Education Leyte schools division superintendent Manuel Albaño and a lawyer visited the school to talk to the claimant, check the deed of donation, and other documents to settle the issue.

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