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BCDA vs. Sobrepeña Group Legal Battle - A Win-win Decision

Finally, the long-drawn Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) vs. Camp John Hay Development Corporation (CJHDevCo) legal battle has ended. The arbitration trial court (PDRCI) came up with a win-win resolution about the dispute that left both parties gain benefits.

In the decision handed down on Wednesday February 11, 2015, the arbitration committee made up of Mario E. Valderrama, Teodoro Kalawa IV and Rogelio C. Nicandro ordered the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) to pay the Sobrepeña-controlled CJH Development Corp. (CJHDevco) group P1.42 billion in reimbursements. In return, the tribunal ordered the Sobrepeña group to return the former American rest and recreation installation turned financial zone to the government.

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Both the BCDA and the CJHDevCo welcomed the announcement as a victory. For BCDA president and CEO Arnel Paciano D. Casanova this as a triumph for government. At last it will be returned and it can now be created for the profit of general society.

He further stressed that “While we see this as a breakthrough, we are duty bound to pursue our monetary claims because 25 percent of our earnings from Camp John Hay is meant for its stakeholders.”

On his part, Camp John Hay Development Corporation (CJHDevCo) Chairman John Robert Sobrepeña welcomed and will respected the decision of the PDRCI.

Furthermore, Sobrepeña also lauded the arbitration committee's decision for ruling that the BCDA is not entitled to the P3.3 billion rent it claims the CJH developer supposedly owes.

The decision also proclaimed the number of trees to be cared for when BCDA will finally claim the place. It’s the eco-system that brought the place to be desired by the tourists. It’s on the hand of the government to plan and take action for its development. Both parties couldn’t initiate until the court order for its finality.

The City of Baguio will come out as the biggest beneficiary that comes with the decision. Soon, the city's business revenues and tourism development will gain the much needed boost. More jobs will be generated for the locals. But they will have to wait for quite a time before these changes become a reality.

For now, the BCDA must find a way to settle their dues before the Sobrepeña group vacates the property. A total inventory of the over the 247 hectare Camp John Hay Economic Zone must be done. Constant dialogs with the present business establishments owners must be conducted; to see that their rights are well protected when the planned takeover will finally push through.

Is BCDA and CJHDevCo legal feud over? Let's see in the coming days...

But With the full coordination of both parties, the stakeholders inside the camp and the administration of Baguio, the writer deemed right to say YES!

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