BAGUIO CITY October 14 – The State-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) will respect the decision to be rendered by the Supreme Court (SC) on the existing conflict on the 247-hectare John Hay Special Economic Zone (JHSEZ) in order to maximize its potentials of spurring economic growth not only in the city but also in the entire Cordillera.
Lawyer Arnel Paciano Casanova, BCDA president and chief executive officer, said government expected a long legal battle between the BCDA and the private developer, the Camp John Hay Development Corporation (CJHDevCo), because of the refusal of the same to peacefully turnover the property to the government after losing the case in the arbitral tribunal.
“We were hoping the CJHDevCo will comply with the arbitral decision because they voluntarily requested the Regional Trial Court (RTC) to confirm the ruling that is why we also petitioned the court for confirmation to make things easier but it is now the other way around. We just have to wait for the final ruling of the SC on the matter,” Casanova stressed.
The BCDA cited it is still best that the SC will be the one to render a definite decision on the current controversy so that the embattled developer will eventually turnover the declared special economic zone to the government for it to manage the zone and maximize its potentials to be one of the economic drivers of the city and the region as a whole.
He claimed the developer has made it a point to work out the renegotiation of its original and revised lease agreements every administration that is why the BCDA thought it wise to facilitate the rescission of the contract so that it will be the government and the people of the city who will reap the fruits of the development of the special economic zone and not the developer alone.
Casanova is optimistic that the SC will be able to rule on the controversial issue before the end of the present administration’s term so that government will already be able to takeover the property and work out ways and means to continue enticing the influx of businesses that would contribute in spurring economic activities beneficial to generating additional employment opportunities for local residents and increased income for both the national and local governments.
BCDA is empowered by law to administer and manage former American military bases that are located in Subic, Clark, Bataan, San Fernando City, La Union, Baguio City, Morong, Bataan among others and that proceeds of its operation will accrue to the government purposely to be used for the modernization of the armed forces.
Casanova claimed the SC ruling will be the one to chart the development thrust that would be undertaken in the declared special economic zone so that there will be increased economic activity within the zone for it to be contribute in the development growth of the city and the region as a whole.