Taguig denies 'forcible' takeover of EMBO schools from Makati

The local government of Taguig City on Saturday denied it forcibly took over 14 enlisted men's barrio (EMBO) public schools from Makati City Friday night.

This is after a Makati City official said on Saturday that "enforcers" from Taguig City's Public Safety Department allegedly "attempted to forcibly take possession of several public elementary and high school buildings" that belong to Makati.

The Supreme Court in June rejected Makati's second motion for reconsideration challenging the earlier ruling on the two-decade territorial dispute with Taguig City on the jurisdiction over the Bonifacio Military Reservation, which includes the 10 EMBO barangays.


Makati Mayor Abby Binay later on complied with the high court's ruling and stated that the city government would coordinate for a seamless transition.

"Makati has already created a transition team headed by the undersigned to sit down with Taguig," said Makati City Administrator Claro Certeza in a statement Saturday.

"We were ready to offer arrangements that would benefit the students. But Taguig apparently was not sincere and was, in reality, intent on using force," he added.

Taguig City on Friday released the list of 14 EMBO public schools that are ready for the opening of classes.

The city government explained that it stood by the Department of Education's Memorandum Order 2023-735, which recognizes the SC ruling, and was working for a smooth transition of affected public schools that were transferred to its jurisdiction.

"In line with this, the DepEd Superintendent of Taguig and Pateros has requested assistance from the City of Taguig, including the deployment of security personnel to ensure the welfare of the students, teachers, and staff, and the peaceful and orderly conduct of the aforesaid activities," the Taguig City Public Information Office said in a statement.

"However, in reaction to these preparations, the City of Makati in connivance with their private security firm and a few allied barangay officials, illegally barricaded the public schools and streets, which in at least one instance led to a school principal being prevented from entering her own campus," it added.

Taguig City also criticized Certeza's statement, saying that while the SC ruling might be hard to accept, "professionalism, duty to the people, and adherence to the law must rise to the top."

For his part, Certeza said Taguig cannot simply take over buildings owned by Makati City despite the SC ruling.

"We also wish to inform Taguig that these public schools are properties owned by the City of Makati. The improvements were paid for by the City of Makati. The decision of the Supreme Court involved a boundary dispute. It did not transfer to Taguig ownership of properties owned by the City of Makati," Certeza said.

"Taguig's attempt to unlawfully enter and take possession of properties owned by Makati shall be treated as a criminal act and Makati shall be constrained to institute the appropriate criminal and administrative cases," he added.

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