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John Hay developer cries harassment over BCDA charges

By Benjamin B. Pulta
02/29/2012 [ ]

The developer of Camp John Hay has deplored strong arm tactics being employed by the government through the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) as

CJH Devco denied it had illegally occupied a small portion of the former US recreational facility and described the purported filing of a criminal case against its officials as part of the strong arm tactics, including continued harassment and intimidation being employed by the state-run firm to justify an illegal takeover.

CJH Devco, which has poured in close to P3 billion in development projects, including the popular Camp John Hay Manor Hotel, said accusations by BCDA that it illegally occupied some 600 square meters of prime land near a sewage treatment plant (STP-6) within the John Hay Special Economic Zone are untrue.

“As far as we are concerned, there is no squatting here,” said CJH Devco Chief Operating Officer Alfredo Yniguez in a statement.

The CJHDevco stressed that the security facilities BCDA claimed to have been illegally constructed actually falls within the 247-hectare leased area that CJH Devco has been developing.

“We deplore the strong-arm tactics being resorted to by BCDA in its bid to justify a takeover of John Hay,” Yniguez said, adding that the filing of the case before the Department of Justice is just the latest in a series of actions aimed at seizing control of CJH Devco projects that include the popular Camp John Hay Manor Hotel and the Camp John Hay Golf Club.

The statement came after BCDA filed criminal complaint before the Department of Justice against CJH Devco and Warbird Security and Investigation Agency for “professional squatting” and required them to dismantle structures in Camp John Hay in Baguio City.

The government agency charged that CJH Devco built housing for their guards and K9 units within the BCDA property without BCDA’s consent.

Yniguez lamented that the filing of the case for alleged violation of Section 27 of the Urban Housing Development Act of 1992 was an offshoot of the company’s recent success in securing a temporary restraining order (TRO) from a Baguio court from any takeover by the state-run firm, BCDA. Yniguez said CJH Devco was able to secure the TRO after providing evidence that BCDA was amassing security forces in preparation for an illegal takeover.

“The motives of BCDA in this latest attack on CJH Devco’s security personnel are clear,” Yniguez said. “BCDA seeks to deplete the security forces of CJH Devco to forcibly and illegally take over John Hay.”

Responding to BCDA’s latest statement, Yniguez said what its service provider, Warbird Security and Investigation Agency, actually erected were outposts and other temporary security facilities that were primarily intended to secure the Camp John Hay Manor and other vital facilities within the CJH Devco area such as sewage treatment plant (STP- 6) and the popular Eco-Trail area.

“Considering the importance of the sewage treatment plant and the fact that the Eco-Trail is a fairly isolated area, security facilities were erected there to help secure not only that facility but also the many John Hay visitors who walk through the Eco-Trail every day,” Yniguez said. These latest attempts by BCDA to take out CJH Devco’s security contractor, Warbird, in the 247-hectare leased area will result in the loss of CJH Devco’s security controls and safety measures which threatens the safety and security not only for 2,600 employees working within the camp but also for thousands of tourists and visitors who frequent the camp on a daily basis.

“Setting up temporary security facilities in strategic locations within an area being secured is a standard practice in the security industry,” he said, adding that contrary to BCDA claims, there were neither families nor roosters in the temporary facilities.

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