A QUEZON City councilor wants the headquarters of the military and the police transferred out of the city.
In his proposed resolution, Councilor Voltaire Godofredo Liban III said Camp Aguinaldo and Camp Crame should be moved out of Quezon City for the safety of residents around the two camps.
Camp Aguinaldo houses the headquarters of the Armed Forces and the Department of National Defense while Camp Crame is home of the Philippine National Police.
Transferring the military and police camps would also unlock the value of prime real estate where the camps sit and spur private development, Liban said in a telephone interview.
“The first consideration is the safety of the residents living in the vicinity of the two camps,” Liban said.
“But of course, since they are sitting on prime real estate properties, moving the camps out would bring in development that would benefit the city,” he added.
However, Liban said there is no specific plan yet for development of the two camps in case the facilities are closed down and transferred.
According to the AFP website, the total land area of Camp Aguinaldo is 178.7 hectares.
The government purchased 152.5 hectares while 26 hectares was donated by property company Ortigas & Co. Limited Partnership.
Under the terms of the donation, the property would have to be given back to the donor in the event that the AFP moved out.
This was confirmed by Aldrin Cuna, chief of staff of QC Mayor Herbert Bautista.
Liban said he learned about the terms of the donation with regard to Camp Aguinaldo and that he is still “doing additional research” on it.
On the other hand, the headquarters of the PNP consists of about 33 hectares, and is located in front of Camp Aguinaldo, just across Edsa.
Cuna said Bautista has yet to make any position on Liban’s resolution.
“He (Bautista) has not said anything about it yet. Besides, a resolution is only an expression of the sense of the chamber. It isn’t a local policy or law,” he said.
In seeking to relocate the military and police headquarters should be moved instead to a less populated space outside Metro Manila, Liban said they pose risks to the city’s residents, particularly those living beside the camps.
“Said camps are located within the heart of Quezon City, densely populated urban metropolis, hence their presence in the midst of the city is a high risk to people living in their vicinity,” Liban said.
He said the civilian residents in the vicinity of the two camps may become innocent victims if caught between fighting military forces if the camps are attacked by hostile armed groups.
Likewise, Liban said the ammunition, bombs, and other ordnance stockpiled in the two camps may cause a huge fire by accident or deliberate attempt at sabotage.
“There is a felt need, therefore, to remove said military camps where they are presently located and transfer them to another less populated area outside Metropolitan Manila to avoid the possibility of loss of lives and damage to property arising from the presence of said camps in the midst of Quezon City,” Liban said.
Roy Pellovello, Manila Standard Today