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CJHDevco denies P2.4-B debt to BCDA

(The Philippine Star) Updated March 26, 2011 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines - Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevco) denied yesterday allegations that it is P2.4 billion in arrears for its rental obligations to the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA).
CJHDevco disclosed in a statement that it has, in fact, been setting aside the proportionate ‘pro-rata’ rental payments to BCDA in an escrow account based on what BCDA has delivered for development.
In its statement, CJHDevco chided BCDA planning and business development group vice president dean Santiago for claiming that “CJHDevco has been using alibis to justify non-payment or delayed payment,” referring to BCDA’s alleged failure to operationalize the One Stop Action Center (OSAC) for ecozone locators and the city government’s stringent requirements in the processing of business permits and building permits.
“The One Stop Action Center (OSAC), which was envisioned in the restructured memorandum of agreement (RMOA) signed in July 2008 is, in fact, non-operational and never was,” said Alfredo R. Yniguez III, CJHDevco executive vice president and chief operating officer. “CJHDevco has documents to show that John Hay Management Corp.’s (JHMC) OSAC, the implementing arm of BCDA, remains to be incomplete and far from being fully operational as mandated in Section 3, Article IV of the July 2008 RMOA.”
Yniguez referred to Section I of Article V of the July 2008 RMOA, which explicitly provides that “in order to facilitate the implementation of the Project, BCDA through it’s implementing arm, JHMC, shall maintain the operation of the OSAC with full authority to process and issue all the business, building and other developmental permits, certificates and licenses, local and national, from all government agencies necessary to facilitate construction and commercial operation in Camp John Hay for the implementation of the Revised Master Development Plan and the Project which are applicable inside the JHSEZ.”
To date, JHMC’s OSAC does not have the full authority to process and issue all the business, building and other developmental permits, certificates, licenses, local and national, from all government agencies to facilitate construction and commercial operations in Camp John Hay. As a result, CJHDevco incurred significant losses and lost business opportunities since it was not able to launch critical projects as scheduled since the signing of the July 2008 RMOA. According to YƱiguez, BCDA is aware of the foregoing facts, as CJHDevco has repeatedly conveyed to them its concerns on the operationalization of the OSAC through several letters.
CJHDevco claims that while some of its locators have been issued their registration and permits to operate, many, if not all, of these registrations and permits were issued way beyond the (30) day turnaround period, mostly after months of waiting. CJHDevco said it was pressured to close down locators that have not obtained permits even after permits have already been obtained. BCDA was also furnished copies of the notices of violation that CJH locators received from the city government of Baguio.
To date, any tree cutting application is still forwarded to the DENR for their approval and JHMC remains to be a mere endorsing entity without full authority to issue environmental permits directly.
CJHDevco further stated that all the foregoing violations are indicative and reflective of the incompleteness of the OSAC, proving that BCDA and its implementing arm JHMC failed to implement the OSAC provisions of the July 2008 RMOA. “This hampered the operation of locators in the John Hay Special Economic Zone (JHSEZ) and does not have the full authority to issue all developmental and business permits, a clear violation of BCDA’s obligation to CJHDEvco under the July 2008 RMOA,” said Yniguez.
CJHDevco said it has called for the convening of a joint committee in the past to tackle the outstanding disputes and BCDA’s violations of the July 2008 RMOA.
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