Mayor denies BCDA pact-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Saturday, August 4, 2012
BASES Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and City Government officials of Baguio recently held a dialogue discussing issues besetting Camp John Hay.
“We are one in collecting the P3 billion,” Mayor Mauricio Domogan said in a press statement from BCDA.
BCDA said the mayor and the City Council gave this assurance after a briefing by BCDA president and chief executive Arnel Paciano Casanova and JHMC president Jamie Eloise Agbayani on the status of the Camp John Hay lease agreement.
But Domogan denied ever uttering the statement emanating from the BCDA.
In his weekly ‘Ugnayang Panlungsod’ (City Coordinating) program, Domogan told reporters he is baffled as to why statements came out in the national press.
According to the mayor, he expressed his agreement to arbitration between BCDA and CJHDevCo during the dialogue. The arbitration, he added, will detail how much the lessee owes the government and not the P3 billion as stated by the BCDA.
He said that the city is now finalizing its stand on issues surrounding Camp John Hay. Copies of its position paper will be furnished to both BCDA and CJHDevCo and other concerned agencies including the Office of the President.
The mayor said even while he is bent on collecting whatever CJHDevCo owes BCDA, he stressed it is only through arbitration that a compromise may be reached.
Regional Trial Court Branch 6 Acting Presiding Judge Cecilia Dulay-Archog recently ruled for parties to go through arbitration with the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center.
The mayor said BCDA and officials agreed during its dialogue to hold continuing talks to settle other questions of the City Government on the issuance of building and business permits inside the former American military base.
The city is also questioning the implementation of Condition No. 14 or the segregation of some 13 barangays from the Camp John Hay reservation.
He said BCDA maintains its stand to segregate only occupied areas in barangays inside Camp John Hay.
But he said that while they support the segregation initiated by BCDA through its estate manager John Hay Management Corporation, they disagree with BCDA’s move to segregate only occupied areas as it is clearly stated in the conditionality that all barangays regardless if occupied or not will be excluded from Camp John Hay.
Meanwhile, the City Council last Monday expressed support to BCDA but stressed the body will invite JHMC and BCDA for another meeting to discuss thoroughly the government agency’s adherence to the 19 conditionalities.
Councilor Nicasio Alipining stressed in his resolution for BCDA to adhere to the 19 conditionalities especially Condition 14 on the segregation of barangays.
This after the Committee on Peace and Order chaired by Councilor Edison Bilog issued recommendations on the complaints aired by residents of 13 barangays inside the former military reservation opposing acts of alleged disrespect and harassment committed by the security agency hired by BCDA.
Among those present during the meeting of BCDA and City Government were Domogan, vice Mayor Daniel Fariñas, Councilors Nicasio Aliping Jr., Fred Bagbagen, Erdolfo Balajadia, Edison Bilog, Richard Cariño, Councilor Isabelo Cosalan Jr., Elmer Datuin, Peter Fianza, Nicasio Palaganas, and Philian Louise Weygan-Allan.
During the briefing, BCDA president Casanova and JHMC president Agbayani informed the mayor and councilors that CJHDevco has piled up its debt to P3 billion.
BCDA earlier terminated the lease agreement with CJHDevco due to material and incurable breaches.
The Baguio City Government stands to receive 25 percent or P750 million from the P3 billion financial obligation of CJHDevco to the National Government. Baguio City’s share of P750 million, according to BCDA will go a long way in funding the City Government’s priority development programs and projects.
“Baguio City and the entire country is at the losing end of this impasse,” Casanova said.
“As public servants, it is our duty to make sure that government gets what is justly due, because the payments are meant for projects that will benefit no less than the Filipino people,” he added.
“JHMC is working for the good of Baguio and the entire country. The effort to collect from the delinquent lessee is part of the initiative of the National Government to bring in the much needed development funds for the Cordilleras,” Agbayani said.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 04, 2012.