ISSUES surrounding development of Camp John Hay (CJH) is not limited to the payment of lease.

Now, the City Legal Office (CLO) has rendered an opinion to the City Buildings Office, which stressed CJH's developers has to secure building permits from the city's building official and not from the building official of the Philippine Economic Zone.

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The issue was brought up after Engineer Oscar Flores, head of the City Building and Architectures Office (CBAO) asked the CLO on how it would enforce Resolution 362-1994, or the 19 conditions for the development of CJH, now that John Hay Management Corporation (JHMC) has also invoked Republic Act 7916 or the Special Economic Zone Act of 1995.

Included in the 19 conditions is for the JHMC to seek building permits from the City Government.

In response, CLO officer-in-charge, Melchor Rabanes advised Flores to assert his authority as the city's building official.

Rabanes said it is erroneous for the JHMC (a subsidiary of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority) to invoke the Special Economic Zone Act.

He stressed, the Camp John Hay Special Economic Zone is not included among the economic zones created under the Special Economic Zone Act.

The Camp John Hay Special Economic Zone (CJHSEZ) was created by Proclamation 420 pursuant to Republic Act 7227 or the Bases Conversion and Development Act.

The CLO asserted the governing body of the CJHSEZ is the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, not the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza).

The only authority of the Peza over the CJHSEZ is to administer tax and duty incentives on registered enterprises within Camp John Hay.

"It is incumbent upon the CBAO to assert its power and require that all permits for vertical structures within CJHSEZ should be secured from the CBAO. To allow BCDA, JHMC and whoever is operating Camp John Hay to issue the permits is tantamount to surrending the power, duties and functions of the CBAO," the CLO said.

It added, "the CBAO should not allow PEZA to usurp the power to enforce provisions of Presidential Decree 1096 and other allied laws." (Rimaliza Opiña)