Subic Bay authorities cancel land lease in American’s bulldozed hill dispute

Subic Bay Image
Subic Bay Authorities Cancel Land Lease in American National’s Bulldozed Hill Dispute – (photo courtesy of InterAkyson)

An American and his Filipina wife have found themselves in hot water after they bulldozed trees and cut the top off their neighbours’ hill in Subic Bay.

A report by Cocktails, an InterAksyon weekly blog insert, related how Brian Lance Giles and his wife Anna Belen Giles had their 50-year-land lease cancelled by the chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority after discovering what they had done to the land.

Giles, an American with a coal mining business in Cebu, is said to have destroyed the hillside and trees of his and his neighbours’ land. The cancellation of his land lease is for the “abuse and blatant environmental violations” of the landscape.

Subic Bay authorities say that Giles did not follow the contours of the wooded hill to build his future home, he instead had his crew chop off the slope and level the cut-off portion, essentially exposing the hilltop to erosion and collapse.

The hilltop is said to be shared with SBMA chairman and senator-elect Richard Gorden, ePLDT chief executive Eric Alberto and Jorge Araneta of the Araneta Center, as well as Makati City Vice Mayor Nenita Licaros.

Giles issues an apology for the mess, but it was too late for Subic Bay authorities as they already cut off his land lease.

The American told reporters: “I understand how you feel and rest assured that I will do my best to correct this terrible situation.

Giles said he had ordered a concrete retaining wall to be built around the exposed slope before putting the excavated soil back into place and replanting the site.

Brian Giles is listed as the president of a Cebu coal mine – his intentions were to purchase the home where he performed the excavation, but later opted to lease the heavily wooded slope after negotiations stalled over term issues.

In the mess is a feud between those living on Alpha Street where the excavation has taken place. One resident has already sold her home and left the area after Giles was suppose to only bulldoze 740 square metres – currently the project exceeds 2,000 square metres.

Residents complained that the hilltops trees and vegetation are completely gone – and the clearing has created a vertical cliff that stands nearly three storeys high.

Many residents are worried as the onset of the rainy season is nearing.