Reaching out-A A +A
Friday, June 29, 2012
EVER since Baguio's crown jewel Camp John Hay was managed by the Philippine government after it was turned over to them by the Americans, issues in the segregation of lands for legitimate claimants within the former US military installation were ever present. Even to the point of minimal consultations by the previous managers and officers of the Bases Conversion Development Authority, and John Hay Management Corporation to legitimate claimants.
When I was starting my television news career as a reporter for ABS-CBN Baguio after undergoing a rigorous radio and television broadcast training with dzMM and ABS-CBN TV news in Manila, one of the major stories that we were always covering here was that of the developments to be made within Camp John Hay by the winning bidder in 1996, following the 19-point conditionality's set by the Local Government of Baguio at that time wherein one of such conditions were the segregation of lands to legitimate claimants.
And just last June 26, 2012 at the Bell House, for the very first time, I was a witness to a government agency, "Reaching Out" and making the first step to talk to its immediate constituents to finally resolve the long-time problem of segregation of lands to legitimate claimants.
Headed by BCDA President Atty. Arnel Cassanova and JHMC President Dr. Jaime Eloise Agbayani, 13 barangay captains and kagawads together with various government agencies had the opportunity to clarify the process of segregation, the expectation of the government from the claimants, and most specially, the purpose, importance and the need to collect from the Camp John Hay Development Corporation, 3 billion pesos that it owes the government for developing select portions of the former US Military Air Base.
It clearly manifested the honest intentions of government to comply with its obligation for good governance through transparency and accountability.
The personal consultation by the head of the BCDA and JHMC with the 13 barangay captains and kagawads to personally know their issues and concerns is a sign of transparency, which the representatives of the claimants have never before experienced.
On the other hand, the immediate actions taken and to be taken by the representatives of government in response to the issues and concerns, clearly shows and defines the accountability of government to its constituents.
This action only proved one thing, "Problems can easily be resolved with proper communication between two parties, especially between government and its constituents."
During the said consultation, the representatives of the legitimate claimants were clarified on the objective of the national government to properly dispose its obligations to its constituents. And to finally do the correct actions that the legal claimants have been waiting for for quite some time.
But reciprocity always has two sides, "It takes two to Tango." By showing the honest intentions of government, it is expected that the legal claimants will have to abide by the agreements set by government meaning, to honestly pay what is due the government, and most importantly, for them to make sure that the immediate surroundings aside from their own will be preserved.
Let us all be hopeful that once everything may have finally been laid down and done with, it would still be the people which forms our government, that will be beneficiaries of good governance through a transparent and accountable administration.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on June 29, 2012.