The 135-day countdown for the complete replacement of four out of eight inoperable elevators in De La Salle Lipa (DLSL) which started in Aug. 9 is expected to be finished on Dec. 28 as confirmed by Jose Rey Ticatic, engineering supervisor general, Aug. 27.
Two units in the Mabini Building (MB) had been malfunctioning since April while one unit each for the Sen. Jose Diokno Building and Hall of Lasallian Saints (HLS) had been shut down starting February.
“Hopefully, bago magsimula ang second semester ay tapos nang palitan lahat ng ating mga sirang elevators,” Ticatic mentioned.
After months of dysfunctionality, Ticatic said that the main reason for this problem was caused by the age of these elevators that had been in use for about 15 years already.
“Kapag nareach na ng isang elevator ang 10-15 years, diyan na sila unti-unting nagkakaroon ng mga problema at sira,” Ticatic explained.
More so, Ticatic shared that the MB elevators had been inoperable as they are still trying to fix a persistent problem with its control systems.
Furthermore, the elevators in the HLS and Diokno building were both shut down due to malfunctioning components that may trap people inside.
Meanwhile, Ticatic shared that although the Student Center (SC) elevator is still working, they have decided to temporarily shut it down as well to trace the source of water leaking from the elevator roofing that if not prevented soon, can cause electrical ground to passengers.
“Lahat ng basic maintenance ay ginagawa naman ng [service provider] kaso ‘yun ngang intermittence [recurring elevator malfunction] ay nagiging dahilan na rin ng wear-and-tear factor of the said units and that became the main reasons of cutting its operations,” Ticatic explained.
Ticatic believes that KONE company, the new service provider for the institution’s elevators, can provide more affordable and better quality elevators that can last for more than 15 years, compared to the 10-15-year life span granted by their former elevator provider, LG Electronics Inc.
As this issue regarding the elevators has already been going on for months, numerous Lipasallians expressed their sentiments, especially on the seven-floor MB building.
Ryan Laygo, a second-year BS Psychology student, shared his daily experience in climbing up to the fifth floor of the MB. According to him, having the MB elevators unavailable for months is a massive burden to their class especially that they always need to transfer from the first floor to the fifth floor and vice versa every day.
“Napansin ko ding problema ay wala agad na update na inilabas ‘yung mga taong responsible dito about sa issue ng pagkasira ng MB elevators. Also, last year na problema pa kasi ‘yan so dapat noong bakasyon pa lang, inayos na agad,” Laygo added.
Vivienne Rhea Padura, a science area professor, expressed that there should be considerations for the teachers who transfer from one building to another every day.
Padura also indicated that the school should have contingency plans during emergencies so immediate remedies can be applied.
“In transporting the chemicals from third floor to seventh floor where our chemistry stockroom is located, malaki ang risk na maaksidente ang mga bata or matapon ‘yung mga chemicals na dala-dala namin,” Padura added.
Ovette Marco, engineering professor, also voiced her opinion regarding the issue on the MB elevators.
According to Marco, transferring from different floors of buildings every day is not difficult for her as she is still young. However, she says that the welfare and condition of older professors should be considered as they struggle in climbing up and down the steep stairs.
“Mahirap yung akyat-baba lagi sa mga buildings kasi kung tutuusin, mas maraming nakakatanda [professors], so parang hindi okay kasi ang regulation ata dyan ay third or fourth floor pataas, dapat may elevators na,” Marco said.
Struggles of PWDs
Meanwhile, persons with disability (PWDs) also shared that they struggle with the everyday hardships inflicted by the inoperable elevators.
Rennier Cuevas, a second-year BS Computer Engineering student, said that it is very hard for people to carry him with the wheelchair up the floors due to its heavy weight. With this, Cuevas needs four to six people daily who would help him to go up to higher floors.
“Noong makita ko na hindi pala nagana ang mga elevators sa MB at SC, naging mahirap ito kasi kailangan pang buhatin ‘yung wheelchair kapag aakyat ng stairs, eh sobrang bigat nito kasi automatic [‘yung wheelchair] at may battery.”
Though Cuevas explained that he uses the ramp when his classes are in MB building he still needs someone to carry his wheelchair in the other buildings that do not have ramps such as in the SC.
Cuevas added that the posted announcements regarding the abrupt shut down of some elevators should have included reasons as well.
Patricia Macasaet, first-year AB Communication student with Cerebral Palsy, shared that she always asks for assistance every time she needs to go up the floors. Though she is still able to use the stairs, she sometimes needs a wheelchair when there is no one to support her while walking.
“Unlike sa ibang mga PWDs dito sa La Salle, kaya ko namang umakyat pataas ng stairs. Iyun nga lang, medyo mahirap pa rin siya kasi kailangan ko pa ng kasama compared kapag may elevator na sasakay lang ako on my wheelchair,” Macasaet remarked.
On the other hand, Ticatic said that students should always observe proper utilization of the elevators.
“Magandang ingatan nating lahat ang mga elevators dahil gamit natin ‘yan at napakaraming tao ang nakikinabang sa mga iyan araw-araw,” Ticatic advised.