Tuesday, May 18, 2010 [ sunstar.com.ph ]
JOHN Hay Management Corporation (JHMC) got its first notice of violation for allowing the construction of new buildings by its concessionaires without building permits issued by the City Government.
Banking on the legal opinion issued by lawyer Melchor Carlos Rabanes, officer-in-charge of the City Legal Office, City Buildings and Architecture Office (CBAO) chief Oscar Flores said his office issued a notice of violation, saying a building permit should emanate from his office, not from the building official of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, where concessionaires of JHMC got their building permits.
JHMC is invoking Republic Act 7916 or the Special Economic Zone Act of 1995.
Flores said obtaining a building permit from the local government is part of the 19 conditions governing development of the former American rest and recreation center.
The CBAO has recently issued the notice of violation. Flores said in the coming weeks, they will again issue a second notice. If construction continues until a third notice is issued, he said the same will be referred to the City Legal Office for further action.
Flores said the CBAO has yet to conduct an inventory of buildings that are currently under construction within Camp John Hay, but he said their latest notice referred to the ongoing construction of Ayala Land Inc. (ALI).
ALI is the newest concessionaire of JHMC. Currently under construction is a building where a call center and retail shops will operate.
In a legal, opinion issued early this year, Rabanes informed Flores that it is erroneous for the JHMC (a subsidiary of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority) to invoke the Special Economic Zone Act.
Rabanes stressed, the Camp John Hay Special Economic Zone is not included among the economic zones created under the Special Economic Zone Act.
The Camp John Hay Special Economic Zone (CJHSEZ) was created by Proclamation 420 pursuant to Republic Act 7227 or the Bases Conversion and Development Act.
Rabanes asserted the governing body of the CJHSEZ is the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, not the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza).
He also said the only authority of the Peza over the CJHSEZ is to administer tax and duty incentives on registered enterprises within Camp John Hay.
"It is incumbent upon the CBAO to assert its power and require that all permits for vertical structures within CJHSEZ should be secured from the CBAO. To allow BCDA, JHMC and whoever is operating Camp John Hay to issue the permits is tantamount to surrending the power, duties and functions of the CBAO," Rabanes said. (Rimaliza Opiña)
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 19, 2010.