BAGUIO CITY: The arbitration committee came up with a win-win resolution to the problems that haunted Camp John Hay (CJH) as it ordered the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) to pay the developer P1.42 billion in reimbursements.
Both the developer of CJH Development Corporation and the BCDA see the announcement as a victory as it would return the camp to government control. Developer will also be paid the money it spent for the project.
In the decision handed down on Wednesday, the arbitration body awarded the developer some P1.42 billion, aside from signing off the supposed P3.3 billion in accrued unpaid rent of the former American rest and recreation facility. In exchange, the developer must vacate the leased property and turn it over to the BCDA.
The CJH developer said the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center Inc. (PDRCI) sided with them and awarded them the reimbursement for rental payments it made since 1996.
In a statement, it also praised the PDRCI for ruling that the BCDA is not entitled to the P3.3 billion rent it claims the CJH developer supposedly owes.
Robert John Sobrepeña, CJH Dev. Corp. president, said in a press statement that his firm is willing to turn over the leased property to BCDA provided that the latter continues to protect the trees as well as the lessors and locators within the former American base.
“We hope that when we turn-over the Camp to BCDA after the P1.42 billion award is paid to us, the BCDA will take care of the 480,000 trees we will leave behind,” he said.
He claimed that the camp only had 250,000 trees when his firm took over its management in 1996. After 19 years, Sobrepeña said they planted 230,000 more.
“The presence of these trees posed the greatest challenge to our development plans as we believed these trees should not be cut. As a result, in our resolve to not cut the trees, our development footprint had been substantially reduced,” said Sobrepeña.
In a separate press conference called by the BCDA, John Hay Management Corporation President Jaime Agbayani also claimed victory saying that they can now order the “delinquent” lessor out.
“We see this as a victory for the government. Finally, it will be returned and it can now be developed for the benefit of the public,” said BCDA President and Chief Executive Officer Arnel Paciano Casanova.