House bill seeks to conserve Gabaldon school buildings
MANILA, Philippines – The House committee on basic education has approved a bill aiming to conserve Gabaldon-type school buildings across the country.
Lawmakers adopted a still unnumbered measure to substitute House Bill Number 139 authored by An Waray Representative Victoria Isabel Noel before the 17th Congress took a break for the Lenten Season in mid-March.
The said bill “seeks to rehabilitate and repair the ‘Gabaldon Schoolhouses’ and other heritage school buildings nationwide to preserve its historical significance as well as address the ever growing need for educational facilities.”
These structures are school buildings designed by American architect William Parsons and were funded through Act Number 1801 authored by Isauro Gabaldon, ex-governor of Nueva Ecija and former member of the Philippine Assembly from 1907 to 1911.
Act Number 1801 has since been known as the “Gabaldon Act of 1907."
The substitute bill strictly prohibits any modification, alteration, destruction, demolition, or relocation of Gabaldon school buildings.
Under the measure, the Department of Education will be tasked to implement a program for identifying and conserving all Gabaldon school buildings in the country, with help from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, and the National Museum.
Local government units are expected to implement measures to help conserve the Gabaldon school buildings well.
School principals overseeing Gabaldon school buildings will also be expected to report to their school division superintendents all structural damage on the premises.
The bill allows the modification of the original architectural design of the Gabaldon school building, but only in cases when the said structure can no longer support the additional student population needed to implement the K to 12 program. (READ: Costs and benefits of K-12)
Any violators of the substitute bill’s provision stand to face a monetary fine of not less than P200,000, imprisonment of not less than 10 years, or both, subject to the discretion of the court. Violators will also be expected to pay for the conservation of the Gabaldon school building concerned. – Rappler.com