BAGUIO CITY – The leadership of the John Hay Management Corporation (JHMC) was able to transform the 247-hectare John Hay Special Economic Zone (JHSEZ) to be a primary catalyst for tourism development in the Cordillera and the leader of environment and forest stewardship in the country by 2018.
Dr. Jamie Eloise M. Agbayani, JHMC president and chief executive officer, cited there has been great improvements in terms of job generation, forest and environmental protection, revenue generation, tourism growth and improved public service leading to more investments.
She reported that from 20111 to present, there were 5,090 jobs that were created inside the economic zone which is around 3,680 more than the jobs existing at the start of 2011.
According to her, JHMC was able to lift the available jobs by 260 percent in four years’ time owing to the efforts of the officials in inviting investors to locate within the economic zone.
It was learned that a total of 3,256 of the workers are with the business process outsourcing companies like the Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) and Convergys.
Ninety five percent of the workforce come from the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay (BLISTT), a commitment that must be sustained considering that it is enshrined in the 19 conditions imposed by the city government for the development of the special economic zone.
On the other hand, CJH hosts 53 percent of the city’s forestland and in partnership with the environment department, it embarked on a strong forest protection initiative that contributed to the improvement of the state of the city environment.
Moreover, JHMC was able to achieve a milestone in financial management that despite the losses from previous years, the subsidiary of the State-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) was able to post positive income starting in 2012.
Lawyer Caesar Oracion, JHMC treasurer, said that the present batch of officials are leaving the corporation in a better financial position than when they first took over their respective positions five years ago.
The JHMC officials disclosed revenues were generated from regulatory fees in the economic zone, rental income, business services, other businesses, and the payment from the beneficiaries of the Scout Barrio housing project.
She added the historical core also raised revenues for the government of P3.8 million in 2015 which is a sign of robust tourism arrivals inside the economic zone while the signing of the 25-year lease agreement from the century-old John Hay mini-hydro last March is also expected to boost the income derived from the reservation in the coming years.
At the same time, CJH remains to be a favourite destination for tourists and locals alike as preservation of historic areas handed by the Americans, like the Liberty Park and the cemetery, were initiated considering that they are among the major tourist drawers inside the former American rest and recreation center.
By Dexter A. See