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[ Baguio City ] BCDA, JHDC execs snub council's invitation

Wednesday, April 15, 2009 [ ]

By Rimaliza Opiña

OFFICIALS from the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and the John Hay Development Corporation (JHDC) did not attend the regular session of the City Council.

BCDA president retired General Narciso Abaya and JHDC chief operating officer Robert John Sobrepeña were summoned to the council to clear issues regarding their signing of a casino cooperation agreement on July last year vis-à-vis the opposition of some groups.

Not even a representative appeared during the meeting, which brought some members of the council to accuse both offices of discourtesy.

At the same time, BCDA board members who happen to be residents of Baguio were assailed for failing to stand up for the sentiments of the people of Baguio.

This development, according to Vice Mayor Daniel Fariñas, should be a wake-up call for the City Council to re-assess the kind of developments done inside Camp John Hay.

During deliberations, councilors and the group that rallied against a casino reiterated that the 19 conditions have been violated by both the BCDA and the camp's developer.

Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda said Resolution 248-2003, which is used as basis by the JHDC to proceed with the signing of the casino agreement, has no basis because this has been repealed.

The resolution amended portions of the 19 conditions, which among other things, allowed the operation of a casino inside the John Hay special economic zone.

A condition also there is for the casino to allow the entry of non-Baguio residents only.

As a result, the council decided not to invite the BCDA or the JHDC to another meeting.

Councilor Perlita Chan-Rondez said it is pointless to be inviting people who ignored their first invitation.

"What is important is we as a body are opposed to it (casino)," she said.


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