By Pedy Canarejo
Mr. Pedy Canarejo is the school head of Balisawan Elementary School.
Flag rising ceremony at Baliwasan Elementary School in Aleosan, North Cotabato.
ALEOSAN, COTABATO— We own the land where our school stands. But every time we wanted to avail of programs, especially repairs of our classrooms, we were always asked, “Do you have the land title?”
It is not easy to own a property. You have to fill up forms, secure and file documentary requirements, go to the BIR for the assessment of transfer taxes, go to an Authorized Agent Bank (AAB) or municipal/city Treasurer’s Office, wait for the issuance of Certificate Authorizing Registration (CAR) or BIR Clearance. Because it’s an arduous task, one may end up discouraged and give up.
For decades, school administrators have been ignoring land titling issues. This led to nagging problems, such as disapproved requests for new classrooms, or worse, land disputes. We learned our lesson the hard way; that it is essential for every school to acquire land title to prove legal rights on school sites.
Our school, the Balisawan ES, was once one of the landless schools in North Cotabato. Because of that, it was difficult to secure classroom construction projects. With the increasing enrolment rate every year, our pupils were forced to endure cramped classrooms. We knew we needed to do something, but we didn’t know how or where to start.
The arrival of CheckMySchool (CMS) in Balisawan ES was an answered prayer for me. CMS monitors helped us lobby the issue in the School Governance and Operations Division (SGOD) and barangay local government unit (BLGU). They also assisted us in securing the requirements.
In response, SGOD provided us technical assistance. SGOD Chief Rolando Mauricio, explained the thorough step-by-step procedure to acquire land title. The PTA and BLGU then offered financial assistance for the fees that we had to pay.
The original Certificate of Title of Balisawan Elementary school issued on August 1, 2017.
On the first day of August last year, Balisawan ES reached a very important milestone. We were granted the Original Certificate of Title of our school site. This opened up many opportunities to improve our school condition.
We are very grateful for CMS’ help in finally resolving our land titling issue. Had it not been addressed in their monitoring, we would still be stuck in the same situation. Balisawan Elementary School owes a debt of gratitude to Gleir Presbitero, CMS area coordinator in Aleosan.
Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of life, said Naeem Callaway. Just like our land titling issue, we would not have succeeded if we did not try. It may have been a long process, but we were fortunate to have CheckMySchool help us get through it.
If there’s any issue, problem or anything that you think needs improvement in your school, let us know if CMS can help. Go to http://www.checkmyschool.org/cms-can-help/.