March 4, 2024

■  Jane B. Cadalig 

Barangays within the Camp John Hay reservation need to craft their respective master development plan for their segregation to be implemented, according officials of Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and John Hay Management Corporation (JHMC) who appeared before the city council on Oct. 16.

JHMC Vice President Jane Tabalingcos said based on Republic Act 7227, or the Bases Conversion Development Act, the master development plans of the barangays for segregation must be approved first by Congress.

She said this is why the JHMC, in coordination with the City Planning, Sustainability, and Development Office, has been helping in the crafting of the master development plans of four barangays.

Of the four barangays with master development plans, that of Barangay Hillside, including its subdivision plan, was already submitted to the Land Registration Authority. The other barangays are Greenwater, Upper Dagsian, and Country Club.

Tabalingcos said they prioritized the four barangays in their segregation initiative since these are the ones that do not have legal challenges such as ancestral land titles and the beneficiaries are clearly identified.

There are 14 barangays that are due for segregation from CJH reservation, pursuant to the 19 conditions asked by the city government in 1994 when it endorsed the master development plan of Camp John Hay.

Only Scout Barrio has been segregated so far, through an executive order issued by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Asked why JHMC cannot just segregate the barangays since the titles are under the BCDA, Tabalingcos said RA 7227 requires Congress’ approval of the master development plans of the barangays.

Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda, who is one of the members when the city council passed the resolution that set the 19 conditions for CJH development, said this is the first time she encountered the requirement that Congress must first approve the master development plans of the barangays due for segregation.

Councilor Michael Lawana of Lower Dagsian, which is one of the areas to be segregated, said for the longest time, they were never informed that they needed to craft their master development plan, which must be approved by Congress.

He added other barangays, such as Happy Hallow and Loakan, do not submit to the request for them to craft their master development plans for segregation because they already have their ancestral land titles, which were issued by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.

“Some of the barangays did not want JHMC to enter their jurisdiction because they do not want to be under the BCDA, being holders of ancestral land titles. What these barangays want now is not segregation, but a recognition by the JHMC and BCDA of their ancestral land titles,” Lawana said.

Asked if there is another way to facilitate the segregation of the barangays, Tabalingcos said an executive order from the President can take the place of a Congressional action.

She said they are also facilitating this by asking the occupants to submit the same requirements that were asked from Scout Barrio residents that paved the way for the barangay’s segregation through a presidential proclamation.

She added out of the 155 individuals surveyed in 1991 in the four barangays, only 92 have submitted the requirements needed for a presidential proclamation.

Tabalingcos said the JHMC is serious about the segregation of the barangays, as shown by the initiatives they are doing.

“Since the time of former President Benigno Aquino, we have been initiating measures to be able to recommend the segregation of the barangays either through an executive order or through Congress. Kung ano na lang ang mauna,” she said.