Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Camp John Hay to revert to government hands

A former military reserve, Camp John Hay has been redeveloped over history into one of Baguio’s top tourist attractions, duking out retail, dining, and R&R options among outdoor activities, like horseback-riding and golf. (Photo: Camp John Hay Official Website

A former military reserve, Camp John Hay has been redeveloped over history into one of Baguio’s top tourist attractions, duking out retail, dining, and R&R options among outdoor activities, like horseback-riding and golf. (Photo: Camp John Hay Official Website)

In the past, it was a US military station: to date, Camp John Hay is a famed tourist destination, oft-visited by many travelers and residents in the “Summer Capital of the Philippines,” Baguio. Dishing out amenities for retail, dining, rest and relaxation, the reinvented camp is poised for turnover to the government. 

State-owned developer and overseer of the property, Bases Conversation and Development Authority (BCDA), severed the lease agreement with Camp John Hay Development Corporation (CJHDevCo) in May of 2012. CJHDevCo developed, operated, and managed the former military reserve. According to the BCDA, the developer had failed to see to their obligations and defaulted on their lease, despite three restructurings. 

“Ultimately, control of John Hay will revert to the government. It is best to prepare for this eventuality by working with investors to ensure that it will be business as usual inside John Hay,” said Arnel Casanova, President and CEO of BCDA. “We do not want any disruption to the businesses inside.”

A preliminary injunction filed by CJHDevCo prevented the BCDA from pulling in investors, until said injunction was declared void by the Court of Appeals on September 30, 2014. 

“The priority is to ensure the continuity of business to preserve jobs and protect investments. We are making the necessary preparations to ensure a smooth transition,” said Casanova.

The camp formerly served as a site of rest and relaxation for personnel and dependents of the American Armed Forces in the Philippines. The facilities, to date, have been redeveloped into attractions and amenities for the public at large. Historical markers like the Bell House, a former vacation residence of the US Commanding General, and the Lost Cemetery, exist shoulder-to-shoulder with modern five-star hotels, a shopping center, a Starbucks (among other chain restaurants), a golf course, a butterfly garden, an ampitheater, picnic grounds, and outdoor activities like ziplines and horseback-riding, all within the 690 hectares of hills, pine trees, and eco trails that make up Camp John Hay.

Established on October 25, 1903, Camp John Hay was named after US President Theodore Roosevelt’s Secretary of State, John Milton Hay.


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