BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved a resolution requesting the City Mayor to schedule a meeting among city officials and executives of the State-run Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), the John Hay Management Committee (JHMC), and representatives from concerned government agencies to address various issues relative to the development of the 247-hectare John Hay Special Economic Zone (JHSEZ) which is located within the 625-hectare Camp John Hay forest reservation.
The approval of the resolution came after the appearance of BCDA and JHMC officials before the local legislative body’s regular session last Monday wherein they interposed no objection to the proposal by some local legislators to conduct a meeting among city officials, BCDA and JHMC executives, and representatives from concerned government agencies to address longstanding issues relative to the development of the former American rest-and-recreation area and for the attainment of possible “win-win solutions” to the identified problems.
Local legislators raised the issue on the BCDA’s and JHMC’s failure to facilitate the segregation of the city’s 14 barangays located within the CJH reservation, which was part of the 19 conditions imposed by the local government for the development of the declared economic zone pursuant to Resolution No. 362, series of 1994.
The council also questioned the BCDA and JHMC for applying for a special patent for the untitled properties within the CJH forest reservation. The members believe it is in violation of the previous commitment of BCDA and JHMC officials for the segregation of the city’s barangays from the reservation so that the qualified occupants will be able to get their titles over the occupied areas.
According to the local legislators, the issuance of the special patent to the untitled lots within the reservation will mean the deprivation of the barangays from being segregated from the reservation.
BCDA and JHMC officials claimed that the application for special patent is for the titling of the untitled properties within the reservation so it will be spared from the proliferation of informal settlers and it will be given to the concerned residents and the barangays once the segregation will be perfected.
City officials want to bring to the attention of BCDA and JHMC the humane treatment of the residents living within the 14 barangays for them to be allowed to introduce the needed improvements in their structures without passing through the tedious process considering that even government-funded projects are allegedly affected by the strict implementation of rules and regulations in the introduction if improvements in the said barangays.
The local legislative body stated there is a need for the concerned parties to sit down and discuss pertinent solutions to the alleged failure of the BCDA and JHMC to comply with the prescribed 19 conditions imposed by the local government for the long-term development of the special economic zone so that there will be sustained symbiotic relationship between the local government, the concerned government agencies and the developer.
By Dexter A. See