BAGUIO CITY – The city council warned officials of the State-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), its subsidiary the John Hay Management Committee (JHMC) and the Camp John Hay Development Corporation (CJHDevCo) that they will be declared ‘persona non grata’ in the city if they refuse to personally appear before the local legislative body to clarify things relative to the status of the 247-hectare John Hay Special Economic Zone (JSEZ) among other major issues affecting the city government and the people of the city.
The warning was issued by some council members after the outright cancellation of last Tuesday’s special session purposely to tackle issues surrounding Camp John Hay (CJH) operations following notices from concerned officials that they could not attend the scheduled meeting due to earlier prior commitments of equal importance.
The council tasked City Secretary Brainer Bengwayan to get in touch with BCDA, JHMC and CJHDevCo officials in order to synchronize their schedules for the upcoming special session in order to satisfy the queries of the council members in relation to the state of the former American military base in the city.
While it is true that the council has no contempt powers, several members cited officials who are invited to answer certificatory questions regarding pressing issues and concerns and who refuse to attend the council meetings for several times will compel the local legislative body to declare such officials ‘persona non grata” in the city.
The council wants BCDA to be clarified on the state of the city’s share from the rentals considering that the city government is entitled to 25 percent of the annual rentals, the status of the segregation of the remaining 13 barangays from the CJH reservation and why they do not recognize the 19 conditions imposed by the city government for the development of the former American rest and recreation area.
Further, the council also wants to be clarified on the status of the Country Club Village Elementary School which is on the verge of being demolished and transferred to the basketball court in the said barangay.
For CJHDevCo, the council wants to be clarified on the status of the camp once it will turnover the same to the BCDA when the arbitral decision shall become final and executor.
The council cited it will not actually deal with the arbitral decision but instead will inquire on what will be the stake of the city government in future developments that will be undertaken in the former American military base and that whether or not the local government will be involved in the process of identifying future developers of the economic zone.
The council reminded BCDA officials that even the BCDA law and the Local Government code of the Philippines requires the consent of the concerned local government unit in the identification of the future developer of the rest and recreation area even if the same is under the jurisdiction of the State-owned corporation.
The council wants BCDA and JHMC to at least give due respect to the city government by attending future invitations in order for things to be appropriately clarified and addressed.
By Dexter A. See