Issue of December 3, 2017

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Baguio asserts 13 villages at John Hay be segregated
by Hanna C. Lacsamana

Is Resolution 362-94 setting out the conditions on John Hay’s development without force and effect?

City officials and the Bases Conversion Development Authority management have agreed to discuss, again, unresolved concerns on the development of Camp John Hay reservation, following the application of the BCDA for patent over untitled properties in the area.

The city council approved a resolution asking Mayor Mauricio Domogan to set the meeting, with the city government seeking for answers from new BCDA-John Hay Management Corporation executives on why it has applied for the patent before the Department of Environment and Natural Resources when it has yet to fully fulfill its obligations laid down in Resolution 362-1994 or the 19 conditions agreed by the parties in 1994 particularly condition 14 or the segregation of the 13 barangays within the reservation.

Councilor Michael Lawana, Association of Barangay Councils president, said they vehemently oppose BCDA’s move, which the barangays expressed in a petition of opposition.

“We were not informed as there has not been a consultation with the affected barangays. We stick to our stand that BCDA should comply with the 19 conditions. They are aware of that,” Lawana said during the city council session on Monday attended by DENR-CAR, BCDA, and JHMC representatives.

He said BCDA should have a program that addresses this matter, because development in the 13 barangays is being hampered by the long delay in the fulfillment of the barangay segregation.

So far only Barangay Scout Barrio has been segregated from the reservation.

Engr. Bobby Akia, JHMC Environment and Assets Management department head, told the city council that the patent application of BCDA covers around 200 hectares of untitled John Hay properties, and so excludes ancestral lands and titled portions.

He confirmed that they did not consult with the barangays on their plan, as it is a reactivation of a BCDA application back in 2005.

Akia said through the application, BCDA-JHMC aims to retain as much as possible the remaining forests as part of their mandate to protect and preserve the reservation.

Councilor Art Allad-iw asked if such move goes against the 19 conditions.

Akia replied it would be congruent to condition 14, as they are trying to establish clean ownership of the property.

Akia, along with BCDA representatives led by legal counsel Atty. Fernando Gallardo, said they would bring the city’s concerns to their top officials whom they said would be willing to sit down with city officials for a discussion.

Domogan, in earlier interviews, said  that the segregation of barangays should be non-negotiable, adding that the conduct of surveys within the 14 barangays means that open spaces not covered by structures would be considered still part of the Camp John Hay reservation.

Further, occupied and idle sections within the 14 barangays will be segregated, contrary to supposed plans by BCDA that only occupied spaces will be segregated.

In backing the city’s claim, the previous DENR-CAR leadership also earlier said the issuance of a special patent over Camp John Hay reservation could not be finalized due to Resolution 362 that is still in effect.

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