June 20, 2024

Rep. Marquez Go cast light on the issue regarding the total land area of Camp John Hay.

During the city council’s discussion last March 21 on the proposed revision of the Baguio City Charter, which eventually lapsed into law last April 11, Councilor Isabelo Cosalan, Jr. questioned the discrepancy between the city charter and the Bases Conversion Development Act of 1992 in terms of the land area of CJH.

Cosalan said the city charter indicates that CJH has an area of 625.4105 hectares while under Section 7 of the BCDA Act, the area transferred to BCDA is only 570 hectares.

Go explained as per the survey conducted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources pursuant to Proclamation 198, Camp John Hay’s original land area was 677 hectares. Of this, 52 hectares was segregated for the Baguio City Export Processing Zone.

Based on the DENR survey, the remaining area is 6,245,105 square meters (624.51 hectares) which is close to the one indicated in the city charter.

“This means that 6,245,105 square meters is not part of the Baguio Townsite Reservation,” Go said.

The DENR survey indicates of the 624.51 hectares, 396.46 is untitled (CSS-131102-000030), another 80.11 hectares is untitled (SW-131102-000157), and 148.94 hectares (OCT No. 2) is titled.

The 570 hectares indicated in BCDA Law does not include the lands occupied by the Voice of America and the United States Ambassador’s Residence, which explains the discrepancy, Go said.

“Out of the total surveyed area, there were areas excluded which were the Ambassador’s Residence, the Voice of America, and the Baguio Export Zone Authority considering that the Ambassador’s Residence and the Voice of America were not yet turned over to the Philippine Government by the U.S. Government. Thus, only 5,660,970 square meters or 566.0970 hectares was left to BCDA,” the DENR survey read.

According to Proclamation 193, the adjacent areas occupied by the Voice of America and the United States Ambassador’s Residence shall be transferred to the BCDA upon the turnover of these properties to the Republic of the Philippines.

The BCDA is the governing body tasked to promulgate and implement rules and regulations governing the conversion, development, and conservation of natural resources within the area to effectively carry out the sustainable development plans for CJH.

The CJH was declared for tourism, human resource development center, and multiple use forest watershed reservation purposes. – Jordan G. Habbiling