BAGUIO CITY – Former Rep. Bernardo M. Vergara lashed out at the current leadership of the State-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) for coming out with their own interpretations relative to the segregation of the 14 city barangays situated within the 686-hectare Camp John Hay (CJH) forest reservation that resulted to the unwarranted delays in the award of occupied areas to qualified homelot applicants and bonafide residents.
The 4-term lawmaker and 1-time mayor argued that BCDA’s interpretation that only the occupied areas will be turned over to the qualified applicants while the vacant spaces will remain with the BCDA contradicts the explicit provision of Resolution No. 362, series of 1994 that imposed the 19 conditions for the development of the former American rest and recreation facility.
“We have to sustain representations with the new BCDA leadership for them to understand the real purpose of the segregation of the 14 barangays within the John Hay reservation so that we will be able to realize the long overdue commitment of the government for the residents to own the lands that they currently occupy,” Vergara stressed.
He pointed out that what is needed this time is for concerted efforts among national and local officials to assert the conditions imposed by the city government for the development of the American military base considering that the survey on the barangays that will be segregated was completed over a decade ago contrary to the BCDA’s position that it is only the occupied areas that will be segregated while the open spaces will remain with the corporation.
According to him, it is the local government and the concerned barangays that know the prevailing situation in their places that is why the vacant spaces should also be turned over to the city because they know what areas to preserve and protect in order to sustain the greenery of available open spaces within the reservation.
Condition No. 14 of Resolution No. 362, series of 1994 states that the BCDA will segregate the 14 barangays from the coverage of the John Hay reservation so that occupied areas will be subsequently awarded to qualified occupants for them to own the lands that they have occupied for several decades now.
He claimed he cannot understand the reason why BCDA wants to keep the open spaces within its jurisdiction when it was clear in the 19 conditions that it must segregate the 14 barangays within the reservation that includes open and occupied areas for the benefit of putting an end to the dilemma of the people to own their lands permanently.
Vergara accused the current BCDA leadership for providing false promises to the affected residents living in the 14 barangays, saying that what contributed to the delays in the segregation process was the duplication of the survey that was previously completed and the failure of the BCDA officials to get their acts together for the sake of providing descent housing for the thousands of residents in the affected areas.
By Herald Express News Team