March 23, 2023

Residents of Scout Barrio in Baguio City are bothered anew by the move of the Bases Conversion Development Authority that recently advised the public the use of an open space within their barangay must first have the government entity’s permission.
Representatives of the residents have sought an audience with city council on Jan. 30 to air their concerns regarding the BCDA’s latest move.
Rusela Bacungan, who heads the Scout Barrio Senior Citizens Association, and Josefina Belsa, president of the Homeowners’ Association, said they are bothered by the BCDA’s move of “claiming” the open field in their barangay.
Banners announcing that pursuant to Executive Order 64, s. 2001, the open field is the property of the BCDA and any request for the use of the property must first be coursed through the John Hay Management Corporation are hung in the premises of the area, which is being rented out by the barangay as a camp site.
“It is only now again that they are claiming the open space, after the plan to put up a hospital in that area did not push through because of opposition,” Belsa said.
A group of doctors in 2019 proposed to build a hospital at the open space, but the plan did not push through due to opposition from the barangay.
Bacungan said the subject field covers 6,390 square meters, which is part of the 7.1 hectares of open spaces of Scout Barrio.
She added a portion of the deed of sale of individual titles provides the city government, the Scout Barrio Homeowners’ Association, and JHMC have the right to designate blocks for the common use and benefits of the home owners.
Another provision of the deed of sale provides the 7.1 hectares retained by the BCDA that are devoted to open spaces, forest area, community facilities, recreation areas, road rights of ways, and waterways, be provided for the current and future needs of the community for such purposes.
Bacungan added in December last year, the JHMC issued an order for the barangay to cease and desist and vacate the basketball court, barangay hall, and the open field, but with it was not implemented when Mayor Benjamin Magalong intervened.
Belsa said while the open spaces are still within the name of the BCDA, they would want the administration of these areas remain with the barangay.
She said the recent move by the BCDA has strengthened their resolve that the open spaces be donated to the city government, which they have long been clamoring.
Condition 16 of the 19 conditions contained in the council resolution that endorsed the master development of John Hay provides that BCDA shall transfer the ownership of the land and its build up and improved structures to the city government upon the expiration of land-lease agreement between the BCDA and its developer.
Another condition is the segregation of affected barangays from the reservation.
Scout Barrio is the only barangay within the John Hay reservation to be segregated. There are 13 barangays awaiting segregation from the former military base.
Scout Barrio was segregated in 2001 of which 8.9 hectares are covered by individual titles awarded to qualified residents in the barangay.
Belsa said there are 178 houses covered by the segregation, including around 12 households that are still in the process of having their titles awarded to them. – Jane B. Cadalig