Issue of October 23, 2011
Mt. Province

64th Courier Anniversary Issue
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JHMC supports house probe, to go after unpaid JH rentals
by Hannah Lacsamana

While saying it would take much effort to get back what is due to the government, the new management of the John Hay Management Corp. (JHMC) has vowed to do everything to collect the unpaid lease rentals that the Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevCo) owes  the government.

“It is a tall order for the new JHMC management to collect from the previous administration of the leased reservation, but it is only fair that we get whatever is needed to collect,” Engr. Leandro Yangot Jr., one of the recently appointed members of the JHMC board of directors, said in a phone interview Thursday. The JHMC, a subsidiary corporation of the Bases Conversion Development Authority, is the administrator of the John Hay Special Economic Zone and steward of its forest watershed reservation, which has the mandate to be the estate manager of the entire CJH area, composed of the leased and unleased portions of the reservation.

Yangot said that the management welcomes the investigation being pushed through by a proposed House resolution on the continued operation of the CJHDevCo despite its failure to pay the lease rentals to the government, which has now ballooned into more than P3 billion including interest.

He also presumes that after the investigation in the House pushes through, the Senate will follow suit with its own probe.

Yangot said that one of the possible options that could be done if CJHDevCo continues to refuse to pay its obligations to the national and local governments as set forth in the 19 conditions in the development of the CJH is for the government to rescind the contract with CJHDevCo and take over the subject portion of the reservation.

On top of this, the government could also seek legal remedies by filing civil, administrative or even criminal charges in court, whatever would be appropriate. “The government will and exhaust every possible means there is, to send the message we are damn serious about this thing which they don’t take very seriously,” he said.

“In fact, we feel vindicated by history, it is a culmination of our efforts before, because we have been declaring then that it (CJHDevCo) should not be allowed to make the development, but we (former councilors Lilia Yaranon, Edilberto Claravall and SK Florence Ibarra) had been railroaded, the LGU gave its go-signal. Now the loopholes we found out then are exposed,” Yangot said. “We have been shortchanged,” he added.

Yangot also said that the board is fast tracking the collection so that the government, including Baguio City which stands to benefit from the accrued rental payments, will get its due.

He said the wide area, which was leased to CJHDevCo for P425 million annually for the first five years starting in 1996 and P150M annually thereafter, could be put to use this time with the active participation of the government, which during the previous administration had no direct access in the reservation’s management.

Baguio City’s share from the rental was supposed to be 25 percent or P106M for the first five years and P35.5M for the succeeding years.

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