BCDA to proceed with development plans for JUSMAG
Posted: August 09, 2012 | Category: Investment And Projects
The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) said it would proceed on the proposed development plans for the JUSMAG Area at the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) which will at the same time generate funds to modernize the country’s Armed Forces.
BCDA president and chief executive officer Arnel Casanova said “We are bound by our mandate to generate funds for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program.” He added that “the AFP is in dire need of the modernization funds to ensure that our country is safe and protected from both internal and external threats.”
The BCDA is now clearing the former JUSMAG area which will not only complement the BGC central business district but raise revenues for the military modernization program.
Several informal settlers used to occupy the area but many have availed of the relocation program offered by the BCDA–which is considered by social workers as one of the best relocation programs offered by the government.
Casanova disclosed that there are still informal settlers who remain in the area, whose structures need to be lawfully dismantled so the project can proceed. “We have been transparent and lawful in the process,” he said.
The City of Taguig issued a Certificate of Compliance (COC) on Demolition last July 18, 2012.
Casanova explained that a court order is not needed to lawfully dismantle illegal structures. “There are situations under Section 28 of Republic Act 7279 or the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992 (UDHA) when extrajudicial summary demolition and eviction is allowed.
He quoted the case of Samahan ng Masang Pilipino sa Makati Inc. (SMPMI) vs BCDA (G.R. No. 142255) promulgated by the Supreme Court on January 26, 2007, to wit: “…Eviction or demolition, however, may be allowed under the following situations: …(b) When government infrastructure projects with available funding are about to be implemented;…”
SC ruling further read “…the second particularly partakes of a government infrastructure project with available funding that is about to be implemented. In the instant case, what is applicable is the second case of an extrajudicial summary eviction and demolition.”
BCDA has clear and unmistakable right over JUSMAG Property
In Republic vs Southside Homeowners Association Inc. (SHAI) (G.R. No. 156591), the Supreme Court declared the area covered by the SHAI’s Transfer Certificate of Titles (TCT) as part of the Fort Bonifacio Military Reservation. The SC further cancelled the title registered in the name of SHAI, thus restoring the Republic, and eventually BCDA, to what rightfully belongs to it in law and in fact.
The SC validated the said decision when it denied SHAI’s Motion for Reconsideration on November 27, 2007.
In its two-page resolution, the SC noted that the basic issues raised by the petitioner have been “duly considered and passed upon by the Court,” and that no substantial argument was raised to grant the reconsideration.
BCDA to run after land grabbers
Casanova also warned that BCDA will run after all persons involved in the issuance of spurious titles and holders of such over BCDA properties. “We are studying the possibility of filing criminal cases against them,” he added.
Casanova clarified that the claims of retired Col. Benjamin Zabat were false when he said the ongoing lawful dismantling operations also covered the Consular Area within the BGC. “What is being cleared is the JUSMAG Property,” Casanova said.
Zabat is being represented by Howard Calleja, the lawyer of Zaldy Ampatuan and the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV). Calleja earlier filed charges against Casanova, during the barrage of suits hurled against the BCDA leadership after they terminated a contract with a delinquent lessee in one of the economic zones that BCDA administers.
“Calleja, and whoever is behind him, may try to throw everything including the kitchen sink into the way of the development we are implementing, but it will all be in vain. Our development projects are being done for the good of the country. We will not be deterred by the obstacles being set up by our detractors, they cannot stop us from accomplishing our mission,” Casanova stressed.
The BCDA chief pointed out that the area in question is the JUSMAG area, not the Consular Area. “BCDA, however, also has administrative jurisdiction over the Consular area. We are then responsible in maintaining the usefulness of the area,” he said.
Further, BCDA Chairman Felicito C. Payumo supports the action of BCDA management in clearing the former JUSMAG property including the areas occupied by informal settlers who are members of the Consular Area Residents Association, Inc (CARAI) as it is within government property. Payumo further stated that the obvious effort of CARAI president and retired Col. Benjamin Zabat to drive a wedge between the management and the board of BCDA will not succeed.
BCDA, as designated administrator of the property, is duty bound to protect and preserve it for the government by virtue of Proclamation No. 1725 which declared the area as alienable and disposable.
“As administrator, it is incumbent upon BCDA to ensure that any and all form of encroachment or any other action that puts a cloud to the title and ownership of the Republic be prevented, removed and eradicated,” Casanova said.
He emphasized that “If BCDA shirks from this duty, it will be held accountable and liable as the designated administrator.”
The BCDA chief also revealed reports of unscrupulous individuals who have been and are continuously trying to undermine the rights of the Republic as owner of these properties. “They are therefore misrepresenting themselves as authorized to sell properties in the area to the detriment of the public,” he said.
BCDA published notices in newspapers and put up signs to warn the public about the unauthorized selling of properties in the Consular Area. “BCDA is vigorously investigating and preparing to file the relevant charges against them,” Casanova said.
Casanova revealed that Zabat maintains a house that is located between the JUSMAG and Consular areas, a portion of his stockroom will be hit by the dismantling operations. BCDA’s legal counsels are also looking into reports that Zabat has been implicated in disputed transactions involving the unauthorized sale of lots within the Consular Area to certain foreigners.
“Zabat’s claim over the consular area cannot ripen into ownership no matter how long he has been staying there. The property is public domain and not subject to encumbrance,” Casanova said.