House summons CJHDevCo-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Monday, February 24, 2014
REPRESENTATIVE Nicasio Aliping Jr. wants Baguio shares from developments at Camp John Hay to benefit residents now.
Aliping, in an interview Saturday, stressed the need for the city to get its shares from the lease of Camp John Hay Development Corporation in the former American facility.
The lawmaker said the House Committee on Bases Conversion and Development subpoenaed CJHDevCo after its representatives failed to appear Wednesday during a scheduled Congressional Hearing, amid the government’s ongoing multi-billion case against the firm.
The Bases Conversion Development Authority charged CJHDevCo for its alleged debts amounting to P3.4 billion in lease payments in the John Hay Special Economic Zone.
Baguio City is set to get P850 million from this amount which is equivalent to 25 percent share in the rental payments, the BCDA press statement said.
According to BCDA, government records show CJHDevCo, which had acquired the lease of 247 hectares of Camp John Hay in 1996, “repeatedly defaulted on its rental obligations, despite constant demands of payment from the government and multiple restructurings of the lease agreement.
This resulted in the ballooning of CJHDevCo’s debt, and prompted the government to terminate the lease agreement in 2012.”
Aside from the subpoena, Aliping also called for CJHDevCo to submit its financial statements from 1996 to present, as well as its contracts with locators and concessionaires after the company purportedly continues to earn from its operations despite non-payment of rentals.
“The interest of the city is very much prejudiced. Equity demands that CJHDevCo must pay the rentals or the shares to the city,” Aliping said.
“The staggering amount that CJHDevCo owes the city and its people could very well have been used for crucial city projects. The people of Baguio are ultimately paying for CJHDevCo’s refusal to pay the government,” the lawmaker added.
BCDA president Arnel Casanova appeared before the congressional hearing Wednesday saying the firm owed them P3.4 billion, something CJHDevCo continues to refute.
The lawmaker is lobbying for increase funding for various city projects including road rehabilitation, livelihood programs and other grassroot initiatives.
Aliping is author of the resolution calling for the special committee to investigate the ongoing legal battle between CJHDevCo and BCDA.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 25, 2014.