Makati City

Taguig takes over public schools in EMBO barangays 

James Patrick Cruz

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Taguig takes over public schools in EMBO barangays 

BRIGADA ESKWELA. Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano visist Makati Science High School on August 14, 2023.

Taguig City

The simmering Fort Bonifacio boundary squabble boils over as Taguig assumes responsibility of the public schools in EMBO barangays long under the patronage of Makati

MANILA, Philippines – The Taguig City government has started taking over public schools in the Enlisted Men’s Barrio (EMBO) areas following the Supreme Court ruling which settled its decades-long boundary dispute with the city with Makati.

On Monday, August 14, Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano led the annual Brigada Eskewela, the government’s volunteer program for school repairs, at Makati Science High School located in Barangay Cembo.

After visiting Makati Science High School, Cayetano went to Fort Bonifacio High School and Fort Bonifacio Elementary School. She met principals, teachers, students, parents and volunteers from the respective schools.

In a memorandum dated August 7, 2023, Department of Education (DepEd) National Captial Region Director Wilfredo Cabral said that 14 public schools in the EMBO localities are now under the management of the Division of Taguig-Pateros. These are:

  • Makati Science High School
  • Comembo Elementary School
  • Rizal Elementary School
  • Pembo Elementary School
  • Benigno “Ninoy” S. Aquino High School
  • Tibagan High School
  • Fort Bonifacio Elementary School
  • Fort Bonifacio High School
  • Pitogo Elementary School
  • Pitogo High School
  • Cembo Elementary School
  • East Rembo Elementary School
  • West Rembo Elementary School
  • South Cembo Elementary School

The memorandum order directed the divisions concerned to “coordinate with their respective LGU counterparts for the smooth and orderly transition and turn-over of the management and supervision of the identified schools and personnel.”

Makati pushes back

On the other hand, the Makati City government denounced Taguig for “attempting to forcibly take over several public schools located in the barangays affected by the Supreme Court decision.” 

Last Friday, August 11, the Makati City government said that Taguig’s Public Safety Department “enforcers” tried to forcefully take control of public school buildings in EMBO barangays.

Makati City Administrator Claro Certeza labeled Taguig’s actions as “an exhibition of deceit and ill intentions.”

He said that these public schools are properties titled to Makati and the city intends to file the appropriate criminal and administrative charges.

“Makati had already formed a transition team led by myself to engage with Taguig. We were prepared to propose arrangements that would be advantageous for the students. However, it seems Taguig’s intentions were insincere, aiming to resort to force,” Certeza said.

While the Supreme Court ruling addressed the territorial dispute involving Fort Bonifacio, Certeza argued that it did not transfer ownership of properties owned by the City of Makati to Taguig. 

In response to this allegation, Taguig said that the DepEd Superintendent for Taguig and Pateros asked the city to send security personnel to ensure the safety of students, teachers, and staff, and to maintain peace and order during the brigada eskwela.

Following this request, Taguig said that it instructed its security provider to coordinate with the school superintendent, the City of Makati, the former security provider, the Philippine National Police, and other relevant agencies.

According to Taguig, Makati, with its private security firm and some barangay officials, illegally blocked public schools and streets. This prevented a school principal from reaching her own campus in one instance, Taguig said.

Education aid

Aside from the push-and-pull over the administration of public schools, the issue between the squabbling cities also impacts on the educational support for the EMBO barangay residents.

Makati claimed that Taguig has rejected Makati’s offer to continue providing free uniforms, shoes, supplies, and other school needs of some 30,000 public school students in the affected barangays.

In previous statements, however, Cayetano assured her new constituents continuous benefits, promising earnest effort to fulfill and support their needs.

Members of the press asked the Taguig city government for a comment regarding this but it has yet to respond as of posting.

Last July, Taguig City announced that it was gradually extending its scholarship programs to the residents of EMBO barangays.

Despite the Supreme Court decision, Makati still offers scholarships to the residents of the said barangays based on an online form for education aid. –

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