Baguio insists authority over Camp John Hay ecozone-A A +A
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
THE City Government of Baguio invoked its authority to issue building and occupancy permits for constructions within the John Hay Special Economic Zone despite persistent questioning by John Hay Management Corporation (JHMC).
Acting City building official Johnny Degay reiterated the city’s authority based on City Council Resolution No. 362 series of 1994, which set the conditionalities in the formulation of the Master Development Plan for Club John Hay and clearly provides it is mandatory for the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) to secure building and other permits from the city’s building official for the construction of vertical structures within the zone as opined by city legal officer Melchor Carlos Rabanes.
In a letter to JHMC Office of the Vice President officer-in-charge Michelle Niebres and JHSEZ and JHMC building official Bobby Akia, Degay stressed, “This Office does not simply proceed from our deputization by our Honorable DPWH Secretary in accordance with Presidential Decree 1096 but also by virtue of an Appointment by the Local Chief Executive of Baguio in accordance with the Local Government Code and the Civil Service Laws and Rules."
"In this regard, we strongly reiterate our authority in pursuance of Resolution No. 362-1994 and other pertinent laws that vertical structures within JHSEZ shall secure building permits and other permits from this Office," he said.
Niebres earlier informed Degay the JHMC building official has been deputized by the DPWH to issue such permits. He asked Degay to “honor and respect the said authority.”
Akia, in a letter dated August 16, 2012, also requested the city buildings and architecture office to cease and desist from issuing said permits within the JHSEZ.
Degay said this has been clarified with JHMC operations manager Frank Daytec in 2009 and in the city’s answer to Engr. Prospero Calagan, then officer-in-charge of the JHMC operations group.
Rabanes recalled his office on January 18, 2010 rendered an opinion that CBAO can enforce its authority as building official within the territorial jurisdiction of Baguio City including the JHSEZ pursuant to Resolution No. 362-1994.
“…Resolution No. 362 series of 1994… is a written concurrence of the City of Baguio which is an indispensable requisite for the creation and development of a (SEZ) in the area, pursuant to Section 15, paragraph 4 of Republic Act No. 7227. Without said (resolution), no (JHSEZ) could have been created and being developed in the area. (The resolution) is binding not only to BCDA but also on its subsidiary, the (JHMC), its developer, Camp John Hay Development Corporation, as well as all locators and other persons and entities who intend to put up vertical structures on any area within (CJH). No law or court order has ever changed this legal milieu,” Rabanes stressed.
Rabanes offered the JHSEZ building official’s appointment as building official for the JHSEX by the DPWH Secretary “does not in any way operate to alter or modify the 19 conditionalities embodied in Resolution No. 362-1994.”
“By virtue of the appointment by the City Mayor of Baguio of its building official in accordance with the Local Government Code and the Civil Service laws, the department head of the CBAO has the consequent power to enforce and implement all local laws and ordinances, national laws and issuances like the P.D. 1096, as he discharges his power to oversee and regulate all vertical constructions within the (jurisdiction) of Baguio City. The building official of Baguio City is therefore mandated to enforce by all legal means the specific provision embodied in Resolution No. 362 series of 1994 which relates to his duties and functions, that is, to oversee and regulate all vertical constructions within the (JHSEZ),” Rabanes said. (Aileen Refuerzo)
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 16, 2013.