BAGUIO CITY – The State-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) revealed that the business climate within the 247-hectare John Hay Special Economic Zone (JHSEZ) significantly improved over the past five years due to good governance compared to when it was administered by the previous administration.
Lawyer Arnel Paciano Casanova, BCDA president and chief executive officer, said through good governance, government was able to focus on dismantling the culture of impunity espoused by the Sobrepeña-led Camp John Hay Development Corporation (CJHDevCo) and made the economic zone more attractive to investors.
The BCDA official underscored that JHSEZ locators increased by 51 percent from 78 in 2011 to 118 business enterprises in 2015.
Furthermore, he added that jobs generated increased by 261 percent from 1,410 in 2011 to 5,090 in 2015.
Among the major investors inside the economic zone are the Riverflow Ventures and Power Energy Corporation (RVPEC) consortium represented by Vendeka Bilgi Teknolojileri Ticaret Limited Sirketi and Isabela Power Corporation which will re-construct, operate and maintain a mini-hydro power plant once used by the Americans when it was still an American military rest and recreation facility.
Once completed, Casanova explained, the minihydro power plant will generate an estimated 3 megawatts of renewable power and clean energy which will be used by the concessionaires inside the economic zone.
According to him, CJHDevCo has no more authority over the JHSEZ and is operating the various facilities without legal basis.
He claimed business locators now recognize BCDA’s authority over the economic zone after the lease agreement was mutually restituted by both parties by virtue of the final award rendered in the arbitration under the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center, Inc. and that the final award was subsequently confirmed by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 6 of Baguio City.
Casanova expressed confidence that the Duterte administration will pursue and continue the gains achieved by the Aquino administration in the economic zone so that the facility will contribute to the economic growth in the city and the Cordillera region as a whole.
He noted that the remaining issue in relation to the mutually restituted lease agreement between the concerned parties is the status of the third parties or sub-lessees which is now pending resolution by the Supreme Court (SC).
The BCDA executive claimed there is no issue to be tackled considering that the third parties being raised by the developer are the interests of their subsidiary companies that operate the different facilities within the economic zone.
BCDA is the administrator of former American military bases in the different parts of the country pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 7227 or the BCDA law.
Casanova and other co-terminous executives of the John Hay Management Corporation (JHMC) are set to leave their respective positions once President Rodrigo Duterte shall have named their replacements considering that their appointments are co-terminus with the appointing authority./Dexter A. See