Baguio Chronicle | June 13-19, 2015

THE Baguio City government has all the right to reclaim Camp John Hay from the Bases Conversion Development Authority or BCDA.

This was recently stressed by Mayor Mauricio Domogan as he claimed that as the lease agreement between the BCDA and the Camp John Hay Development Corporation or CJHDevCo fizzles, the city government could reclaim the former American rest-and-recreation military base as stated in one of the 19 conditions made by the local government before it was turned over to the national government specifically the BCDA. He earlier said the 19 conditions set by the city government for the development of Camp John Hay stands despite the rescission of the Camp John Hay lease agreement between BCDA and CJHDevCo.

Meanwhile, Domogan disputed statements earlier made by BCDA and its subsidiary John Hay Management Corporation that the conditions may have been revoked along with the contract with its lessee contending that Resolution 362-1994 existed even before Camp John Hay was bid out and even before the creation of BCDA. The 19 conditions have also been honored by the BCDA as it is embedded in many provisions of the master plan for developing Camp John hay. He also challenged BCDA to stop issuing statements that only misinform the public as he claimed it was BCDA’s decisions that caused for the wrong turns in the development of Camp John Hay.

Domogan was backed by City Legal Officer Atty. Melchor Carlos Rabanes who said the mayor is pointing his basis at the 16th condition made by the city government prior to turnover of the camp to BCDA. Rabanes says that when the contract has ended which now has been terminated with the decision of the court, all improvements including the land should be turned over to Baguio.

“Rescinding the contract means it is also terminated, therefore we have all the right to reclaim Camp John Hay,” he said.

But Rabanes said this action from the city government will have to wait until the turnover of the facility of BCDA will take place under the guidance of the court.

BCDA, he added, should first come up with an inventory and determine the land and improvements made inside John Hay before the city moves for its option of reclaiming the property. The city, he contended, should assert Condition No. 16 as it is valid and binding as the 19 conditions were issued by the Sangguniang Panlungsod, then at that time, by way of resolution pursuant to the law creating BCDA or Republic Act 7227. He said before the takeover of BCDA, the 19 conditions were issued because it is the right of the local government and the people of Baguio to have prior consent to the property.

With the 19 conditions, he said the resolution has been honored by BCDA for many years and was reproduced in the contract carried out by the developer with BCDA. He said BCDA president and CEO Arnel Casanova’s disregard of this agreement would be the signal for the city to go to court.

“It is only probably he who disregards the 19 conditions as previous officials of the BCDA have been honoring it,” he said. He also cited conditions on income sharing have been honored by BCDA. “BCDA can no longer withdraw from the agreement as they have already accepted these conditions,” Rabanes stressed.

“If he (Casanova) will disregard the 19 conditions then it is not only the city government that he will be up against but the entire City of Baguio as these 19 conditions were enacted by way of a resolution made through a consultation with the people of Baguio,” he ended.