More companies and locators doing business in the John Hay Special Economic Zone have signed lease agreements with state-run Bases Conversion and Development Authority, which stripped Sobrepeña-led Camp John Hay Development Corp. of the right to manage the special economic zone in Baguio City.
“The firms have recognized that CJHDevCo has been divested of its authority to manage and administer the John Hay Special Economic Zone and want to merely protect their investments, thereby preferring to do business directly with BCDA,” BCDA president and chief executive Arnel Paciano Casanova said.
Inbound Pacific Inc., a former sub-lessee of CJHDevCo, which operates the Mile-Hi Center and Cantinetta, recently signed two lease agreements with the BCDA for a contract price of P60.52 million, according to Casanova.
Inbound Pacific’s first contract involves the lease of the 6,275-square meter Mile-Hi Center comprised of retail and restaurant facilities, while the second contract involves the lease of the 261-square meter Cantinetta Restaurant and Café also within the JHSEZ.
Casanova said other firms had also expressed interest to sign and invest with BCDA.
CJHDevCo said, however, it continued to have legal rights over Camp John Hay. It said it would remain business as usual in the camp until a final court order was issued for the camp to be turned over to any party.
CJHDevCo was also claiming a full payment of P1.42 billion from BCDA. BCDA is the owner of the Camp John Hay, a former military base, while CJHDevCo served as the private developer of the economic zone.
Casanova said CJHDevCo had no more authority over the John Hay Special Economic Zone and was operating without a legal basis. He said CJHDevCo could no longer avail of fiscal and non-fiscal tax incentives offered in the economic zone.
He said CJHDevCo had changed its status to a VAT registered enterprise and started passing on VAT charges to customers and sub-lessees.
“The business locators now recognize BCDA’s authority over John Hay after the lease agreement of CJHDevCo has been rescinded by virtue of the final award rendered in the arbitration under the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center Inc. (PDRCI),” said Casanova.
The final award was also confirmed by Branch 6 of the Regional Trial Court of Baguio.
He said following the confirmation of the rescission, the notice to vacate was served by the ex-officio sheriff of the first judicial region, Baguio regional trial court branch 6 to CJHDevCo and all persons claiming rights under them.
“We are taking control of the Camp and the businesses are voluntarily signing up with BCDA. This affirms that the Sobrepeña-led CJHDevCo has no more authority to do business inside the John Hay Special Economic Zone,” said Casanova.
“We welcome Inbound Pacific Inc. and we look forward to working with them towards the development of the John Hay Special Economic Zone into a wholesome family-oriented tourism complex,” Casanova said.
Casanova said the new lease contracts marked the start of a new and favorable business environment in the economic zone.