February 24th, 2015

Mayor Mauricio Domogan this week said he is not confident that the Bases Conversion Development Authority will pay the P1.42 billion award to John Hay’s developer adding the government agency will only enforce half of the decision, evict the lessee.

This even as he said that BCDA still owes the city nearly P200 million from its share from the rent, including the Technohub that is leased to the Ayala group of companies. That is on top of what the city has already lost of more than P800 million from the P3.3 unpaid accrued lease of the Camp John Hay Development Corporation which the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center, Inc. signed off in its February 11 decision.

Domogan Tuesday said that BCDA has been withholding the city’s share from the leased portion of John Hay among which is the area that the Ayala group into a bustling mini-community.

“We should be receiving some P1 billion, P800 million from our share from the unpaid rents and our share from other lease of properties to parties like Technohub,” he said.

Domogan however said that Baguio will have shares from the “reasonable rent” payment to be made by CJHDevCo once it vacates the leased property.

The developer has poured in about P5 billion for improvements inside the 260 hectare former American rest and recreation facility.

Domogan vowed though that the city will assert its right in the collection of rent shares.

CJHDevCo president Robert John Sobrepena said Monday they are willing to vacate the former rest and recreation facility and move on after BCDA pay them the P1.42 billion award as reimbursement of rent payments.

Speaking before local mediamen, the CJHDevCo top man said they feel relieved too because that stay was 18 years of frustration which could end with the ruling of the PDRCI. awarded P1.42 billion in its favor aside from signing off the supposed P3.3 billion in accrued unpaid rent.

The Bases Conversion Development Authority and CJHDevCo have yet to file with the Regional Trial Court branch 6 their respective petitions so the court could effect the decision. Sobrepena is looking at a 90 day transition wherein they turn over improvements inside John Hay totaling to P5 billion.as reasonable rent.

He said that they seek a smooth transition because “the longer the delay, the longer the baguio people will suffer.”

Although they welcome the decision, Sobrepena said that all parties lost, with Baguio as the biggest loser in the dispute that dragged for years.

BCDA lost a lot of money with the P1.42 award to CJHDevCo and the P3.3 billion “back rent” or P4.72 billion. They also lost because the legacy of a vision that is their project within the 256 hectare property could not be realized now.

Baguio remains to be the biggest loser not only in terms of money but also potential for more taxes, more jobs for the people and the economy generated which could be exponential with their presence.

Sobrepena said that they are supposed to build 1,000 hotel rooms, of which 370 are only realized with the Manor and Forest Lodge, the latter suffered the most because BCDA has refused to issue operation permit. Forest Lodge was in limbo for almost nine years and only opened in September 2013.

Earlier Monday, BCDA with president Arnel Paciano Casanova and John Hay Management Corporation president held their own press conference at the Bell House where they sought for a smooth transition but avoided the P1.42 billion PDRCI award to CJHDevCo.

Domogan firther said that the status quo should have not been reached if only the BCDA listened to him and fellow Baguio officials cautioning the government agency in its bullish attempt to collect the back rent of CJHDevCo.

He said that the developer was willing to pay the unpaid rent only if it will be given time. In fact, it has earlier offered partial payments which was denied by the BCDA.

With both parties claiming victory, he said that BCDA will bullishly enforce half of the decision, that which favors it meaning to evict CJHDevCo. On PML February 13, members of the elite SWAT of the Baguio City Police Office was called in by the BCDA to enforce what CJHDevCo calls as forcible take over.

The fully armed police officers were however to stand down and their presence was only meant to ensure peace between the two warring parties.