July 01, 2007

MVF asks for probe on alleged book scam

Laoag City Mayor Michael V. Fariñas was surprised by news reports that government-owned books have shown up at bookstores in the city where they are being put up for sale.

Though he said he still needs to verify the reliability of the said news reports, he made a notation for city schools division superintendent Dr. Cecilia P. Aribuabo to explain what action they have taken with regards to what is now known as the “book scam.”

Fariñas however clarified that the city government and the Department of Education (DepEd) are separate entities.

Aramiden mi iti annungen ken pagrebbengan mi (We will do our duties and responsibilities) but more so iti (the) DepEd,” Fariñas said.

The Ilocos Times tried to get the side of Aribuabo but she refused any comment saying they are currently conducting an investigation on the matter.

However during the same interview, Aribuabo showed this reported a textbook with a “government property” seal which the city DepEd reportedly bought from a bookstore here in Laoag.

A radio reporter also was able to buy a same “government property” marked book also from a bookstore in the city.

The Ilocos Times also noticed that the upper top left portion of the book, where the usual “Government Property Not For Sale” mark should be placed was removed and was crudely replaced with a “Libro Commercial Edition” marking.

DepEd Regional Director Dr. Ligaya Miguel, in a radio interview, vowed to investigate the matter in coordination with the city DepEd to root out the source of the said books.

Meanwhile, Laoag Central Elementary School Principal Primo Domingo expressed his strong belief that the DepEd has nothing to do with the “book scam”.

According to Domingo, the publishers of the books in question may have excess copies which they produced to be sold commercially in bookstores.

He also admitted that there are some pupils who misplace their school-issued books but they have been disallowed to pay for the book but are instead advised to either buy a same copy of the book or to photocopy the whole book.

In case of the Central School, Domingo said the Parents-Teachers-Community Association (PTCA) has purchased a photocopying machine to solve this kind of problem.

Dominic B. dela Cruz

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