IN response to a recently-filed House Bill (HB) attempting to once again force the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) into segregating the 13 barangays within the Camp John Hay reservation from its jurisdiction, Baguio’s lawmakers have made clear their stance that BCDA will not have control in the segregation procedure, whether through compliance with the 1994 19 conditionalities, or the new bill.
In Resolution no. 762, series of 2023, where the council lays out its stance on House Bill 9428 by Baguio representative Mark Go, a bill seeking to declare parts of the land in the John Hay reservation as alienable and disposable, lawmakers reiterated that with the proposed segregation, the BCDA will have no control and may not interfere with the governance of the segregated areas.
The resolution also points out that with the inclusion of ancestral domains in the affected areas up for segregation, the bill must contain provisions to account for said ancestral claims, and go through proper public consultation.
However, the council continues to assert that HB 9428 should not be necessary and the city should be able to force the BCDA to comply with the segregation of the barangays, as it is part of the 19 conditionalities imposed by the city in Resolution No. 362, series of 1994 in exchange for approving the BCDA’s development plan.
As the 19 conditionalities are recognized by the Supreme Court as condition precedent, or necessary before any stipulated action, the BCDA should comply with not just the segregation but all 19 conditionalities as it has moved forward with its development, according to the council.
Some lawmakers, such as Councilor Fred Bagbagen, claim that the mere existence of HB 9428 undermines the government’s efforts to force BCDA to comply with its own agreement, as it shows that the city cannot enforce the 1996 deal.
HB 9428 intends to declare as alienable and disposable certain parcels of land of the public domain in Baguio City for disposition to actual and qualified occupants. It explicitly excludes said lands from the coverage of RA 7227 and Proclamation No. 420, series of 1994 which transferred John Hay Air Station to BCDA, both laws which have been used by the BCDA as justification for resisting Baguio’s demands.