Issue of December 25, 2011
     
NEWS
Benguet
 
OPINION
 

102nd Baguio Day Anniversary Issue
 
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BCDA chided for its failure to collect rent from John Hay
by Rimaliza Opiña

A partylist representative chided the Bases and Conversion Development Authority for “failing to discipline” the Camp John Hay Development Corporation (CJHDevCo) with the latter’s non-payment of its P2.677 billion rental obligations accumulated since 1996.

Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) Rep. Sherwin Tugna wants BCDA to explain why it has taken 15 years and a 2010 Commission on Audit report for it to act on the issue.

This came even as BCDA already sent the fourth demand letter to CJHDevCo but the latter has yet to settle its dues.

The letter, addressed to Robert John Sobrepena, reminds and seeks for the immediate settlement of the P581,504,549 which is the current due and demandable obligation of CJHDevCo to BCDA. The amount includes the current lease rental as of November including the principal and interest on past due obligations and all applicable interest and surcharges.

Tugna, in a statement said BCDA lacks the ability to do its job. “A corporation, in order to properly function, needs funds for its disposal. By lagging behind the collection, BCDA has shown its lethargy in the performance of its duties.”

“Failure of payment is one side of the coin. The other side is failure to collect it. If CJHDevCo is not paying its rents, does this mean that all is well and it can go on using Camp John Hay for free? Ultimately, it is BCDA which should have acted promptly to get what it is due for the government.”

Flores said that as of the moment, they cannot act drastically because of the past experience whereby the Court of Appeals issued a temporary restraining order stopping BCDA from collecting directly from the leases of the developer and from terminating the lease.

He said that BCDA is doing its best to collect CJHDevCo’s obligation. He said that there was a proposal of the developer but was turned down as it was in the form of restructuring and dacion en pago or use of real property to pay the obligation.
He added that the offer is another restructuring of the obligation, which has been due and demandable.

He added the cancellation of the lease is at the moment the least remedy they want to do because it will be at the prejudice of the government and the city which has a stake in the receivables. “What we want to do is to ensure collection of the money.”

Tugna, meanwhile, said the BCDA should act now. “With a government running on the principles of accountability and transparency, it has to do away with acceptable but dubious practices for these are acceptable no more,” he added.

Tugna is a member of the House prosecution team on the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona.

CJHDevCo started the lease of Camp John hay in 1997 covering more than 200 hectares within the Camp John Hay reservation. Based on the computation of the BCDA, the CJHDevCo’s obligation has ballooned to P2.6 billion.

BCDA President Arnel Paciano Casanova said they are exerting all efforts to collect the receivables from the developer.


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