The Quezon City government has appealed to Colegio de San Lorenzo (CDSL) management to stop requiring parents to sign a waiver before getting their refunds for tuition and other payments from the institution.
“It is not the obligation of the parents to sign a waiver. The school cannot use the waiver as a requirement before they can get a refund,” Mayor Joy Belmonte said.
On Aug. 15, the CDSL announced its permanent closure because of “financial instability” and “lack of financial viability” due to Covid-19 pandemic, which was made worse by the low enrollment turnout.
The mayor, along with the City Legal Department head Orlando Paolo Casimiro, made the pronouncement after they learned that the school is obliging parents to sign a waiver for their refunds.
The city lawyer said the CDSL should fulfill its earlier commitment to immediately refund the payment to the parents and students.
“The school cannot limit the legal options of the parents of students affected by its sudden closure by requiring them to sign a waiver,” Casimiro said.
“Sapat na ang resibo na pwede nilang ibigay bilang patunay na na-refund na ang pera (The receipt that they can provide as proof that the money has been refunded is enough),” he added.
Casimiro said the City Legal Department and the Education Affairs Unit have been monitoring the refund of school fees upon the mayor’s instruction.
He also said there are 343 basic education students and 443 college students who are claiming refunds.
The city government said that its Education Affairs Unit has been coordinating with prospective schools for the transfer of the students.
The Legal Aid Office, under the City Legal Department, also provides legal assistance and advice.
It added that displaced teachers and non-teaching personnel will also be referred to the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) and other concerned offices for possible job or livelihood opportunities.
“Sisiguruhin ng lokal ng pamahalaan na lahat ng mga apektado ng biglaang pagsasara na ito ay mabibigyan ng karampatang tulong (The local government will ensure that all those affected by the sudden closure will be provided with appropriate help),” the mayor said.
According to Casimiro, the city government is looking into other possible violations of the school; including lack of building permit, alleged illegal construction, and violation of easement of waterways.
The city said that despite notices, the CDSL allegedly failed to comply with the Department of Building Official’s (DBO) order to rectify the structure it built and observe the easement of waterways.
It added the DBO will file criminal charges against the property owners for violation of the Building Code. The school’s business permit is also deemed revoked.
“The City Government will study all legal options against the property owner,” Casimiro said.