September 27, 2023

The city council referred to the committee on public works the position of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority on the planned construction of a farm-to-market road project of the Department of Agriculture at Barangay Happy Hallow.
In an email to the city council dated Oct. 21, 2021, BCDA subsidiary John Hay Management Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer Allan Garcia expressed BCDA/JHMC’s opposition to the road concreting project on the ground that it would only legitimize illegal construction activities in the area.
Garcia said the proposed FMR project would legitimize a certain person’s illegal activities which include the construction of a private service road, which has no permit from the City Buildings and Architecture Office and validated by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources as unsafe to cause a landslide during a typhoon.
Garcia said illegal constructions have already caused and continue to pose alarming destruction to surrounding watershed within the barangay and it would be a mockery of the legal system if government funds allocated by the DA for the FMR will be used to legitimize and condone illegal activities.
A chunk of the mountain in the barangay has been destroyed as consequence of the illegal construction which if left unabated would cause irreversible damage to the watershed within the Camp John Hay reservation.
Garcia said the JHMC, as administrator of the BCDA over Camp John Hay, has always been supportive of government projects for the benefit of communities, but could not stay silent and passive to a mockery of government laws, alarming destruction, and to government projects being used or exploited.
Happy Hallow Punong Barangay Joseph Sacley said otherwise on JHMC’s claim. He said the proposed FMR does not benefit a certain person only but the entire barangay particularly the more than 15 residents of Purok 1 who are residing near their farms.
Sacley said the proposed FMR has been relocated for the third time from the proposed original site after being opposed by BCDA on the ground that it has a claim over the area.
Sacley said the dirt road they want to improve is not new and built by a private individual, but an old road constructed by the Americans who also turned over its maintenance to the community and the barangay.
He said it is the only access road for residents to their area but the BCDA disallows its improvement.
He said Happy Hallow is covered by a certificate of ancestral domain title issued by the National Commission on Indigenous People in 2009. Although BCDA later filed its opposition to the issuance of the title in 2012, the same is still awaiting final decision from the Supreme Court.
He asserts, they have legal jurisdiction on the ancestral domain including the area being claimed by BCDA as part of the Camp John Hay reservation. The metes and bounds are contained in its survey plan submitted to the city government relative to its request to Congress that passed a law segregating 13 barangays surrounding Camp John Hay.
Sacley hopes that the project which has been bid out by the Department of Public Works and Highways Baguio District Engineering Office and relocated several times will be implemented after being awarded to the contractor.
The P12.5 million worth FMR project was earlier appealed in Resolution 456, s. 2021 to BCDA and JHMC to allow its implementation in support to farming livelihood of affected families.