THE Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) asked the court to issue a restraining order to stop the City Government from closing establishments managed or owned by the locators at Camp John Hay Special Economic Zone (CJHSEZ).

This following reports that City Government would shut down locators at CJHSEZ for not securing business permits.

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At the same time, the BCDA, through its subsidiary the John Hay Management Corporation (JHMC) sought for a declaratory relief for “proper interpretation of Sections 5, 6, and 7 of Republic Act 9400 or the Bases Conversion and Development Act of 2002.”

As locators within an economic zone, the BCDA maintains they are exempted from securing business permits or from payment of license fees.

Mayor Reinaldo Bautista Jr. earlier issued Administrative Order (AO) 102-2009, creating the CJHSEZ task force, which would implement the Tax Ordinance even on locators of the CJHSEZ.

After issuance of the AO, City Treasurer Thelma Manaois wrote the JHMC for a list of the number of locators at the CJHSEZ.

The JHMC did not provide the list but instead referred the City Treasure’s Office’s (CTO) request to the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel to determine legality of the AO.

The City Legal Office (CLO) on the other hand, issued a legal opinion saying locators are not exempted from securing business permits.

Based on the CLO opinion, City Treasurer Thelma Manaois on January this year wrote the JHMC and said the city will be collecting business taxes from their locators. She allegedly threatened to have these establishments closed if found without permits.

But the BCDA said they have made their position clear that enterprises with the CJHSEZ are not required to secure business permits from the City Government.

“The imposition to secure business permits and license fees will violate not only Bases Conversion Act but also Section 20, Article II of the Constitution.”

Article II, Section 20 of the Constitution recognizes the role of private enterprises in economic advancement. To encourage investment, government gives incentives to investors.