BAGUIO CITY – Living up to its mission and vision to transform Camp John Hay into a primary catalyst for tourism development in the Cordillera Region and the leader of environment and forest stewardship in the Philippines by 2018, the John Hay Management Corporation (JHMC) in a period of five years has shown reforms and accomplishments which it will proudly pass on to the next leaders of the country come June 30.
Dr. Jamie Eloise M. Agbayani, President and CEO noted great improvements in terms of job generation, forest and environmental protection, revenue generation, contribution to tourism and improved public service leading to the entry of more investments.
Agbayani reported that in a period of five years from 2011 to present, there are now 5,090 jobs created inside Camp John Hay Special Economic Zone, which is 3,680 more than the jobs existing at the start of 2011.
The present administration was able to lift the available jobs by 260 percent in four years time owing to the effort of the administration to invite investors to locate in the John Hay economic zone .
A total of 3,256 of the workers are with the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies like the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) and Convergys.
Agbayani said 95 percent of the workforce is sourced from the BLISTT (Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay), a commitment it pursues until the present.
Camp John Hay Reservation Area (CJHRA), which is titled under the name of state-owned Bases Conversion Development Corporation (BCDA) created by law – Republic Act (RA) 7227 (Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992), to transform former military bases and properties into premier centers of economic growth in partnership with the private sector with integrity, excellence and efficiency in the stewardship of government resources. It aims to create sustainable urban communities to uplift the lives of Filipinos, including the host communities.
Camp John Hay is directly managed by BCDA’s subsidiary, JHMC.
The reservation’s 625 hectare area hosts 53 percent of Baguio’s forested land.
In partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), a strong forest protection program was enforced and programs were initiated.
Illegal occupation within the forest reservation including tree cutting activities were prevented.
Most significant of its forest protection effort is the conduct of research on the bark beetle damaging the pine trees. “From 2014 to 2015, the consultancy services of forest pathologists from the Benguet State University (BSU) were tapped to evaluate the pest infestation in the reservation and made recommendations for a sustainable program,” Agbayani said.
Using the study generated, JHMC initiated the training for personnel- equipping them with skills on evaluation of pest infestation, proper soil sterilization and plant nursery management.
Tree surgery procedures were also done to revive century old pine trees infested with pests.
There were also continues tree planting activities using JHMC propagated tree seedlings.
It also keeps track of the number of trees with the latest inventory marked at 94,828 trees in the 267.67 hectares of JHRA.
Because John Hay is the last bastion in the city, JHMC endeavors to assure that people will continue to breathe clean air. A contract was signed with the Environment Management Bureau (EMB) in 2015 for the installation of a Continuous Ambient Air Monitoring Station (CAAMS)- to help maintain the below 22.6 ug/cubic meter Particulate Matter 10 and guide the government’s future clean air programs.
A rainwater harvesting facility was also installed in December 2015, to collect the rainwater from the downspouts of the Bell House, for watering the plants in the nursery, greenhouse, gardens and other facilities within the Historical Core.
As a result of good governance and the establishment of systems in place, JHMC achieved significant financial milestones.
From losses in the previous years, the JHMC began to post positive net incomes starting 2012. As quoted from Corporate Treasurer Director Caesar Oracion “We are leaving JHMC in a better financial position than when we first came in”.
The revenues were generated from regulatory fees in the economic zone, rental income, business services and miscellaneous income, other businesses, and the payment from the beneficiaries of the Scout Barrio Housing Project. The Historical Core also raised revenue for the government of P3.8 million in 2015 which is also a sign of robust tourism arrival in Camp John Hay.
The signing of the 25-year lease for the century old JH mini hydro plant in March this year is also expected to boost the income derived from the reservation in the coming years.
John Hay remains to be a favorite destination for tourists and locals alike.
Preservation of historic areas handed by the Americans like the Liberty Park and the Cemetery of Negativism within the Historical Core were initiated. The markers installed by the US Air Force in 1982 for the Liberty Park and the Bell Amphitheater were also upgraded into vertical garden signages.
Better public service
JHMC’s departments promote investor friendly business climate and has attained a 95 percent satisfaction rating from the locators in 2015.
It was also noted to be compliant in the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) transparency seal, environment and sanitation code including building safety and fire code.
Compliance to rules and guidelines for the clients was also achieved through the Citizens Charter that provides a detailed guide on frontline services and process flows starting 2012, an aid to clients.
Recently, it was awarded the ISO 9001:2008 certification for Quality Management system, which through the years will make better the performance of its services.
Case against DevCo
Through the BCDA, the government continues to uphold its right against the Sobrepena-owned CJHDevCo that has reneged on its obligation to pay leases depriving the government of the legitimate billions of pesos in revenue for using government owned-property.
This led to Baguio City’s non-receipt of its 25 percent shares from the lease rentals of about P800 million.
Overall, JHMC is living up to the expectation as a steward of the forest of Camp John Hay, attracting investments and creating jobs for the Filipino people to boost the economy , which are pursuits leading to the attainment of the “Tuwid na Daan” goal of the government./JHMC-PR