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Unahin daw ‘cultural park’! Duterte appointees blocking IATF, DOH’s order to convert Nayong Pilipino’s idle property into 12,000-a-day mega COVID jab site

The NPF board, composed of appointees of President Rodrigo Duterte led by directors Cesar DG Aljama and Lucille Karen E. Malilong- Isberto, does not see any compelling reason to sacrifice its proposed cultural park project on the property just to give way to a temporary walk-in and drive-thru coronavirus immunization facility meant to save millions of Filipino lives and rescue the ailing economy by achieving herd immunity as soon as possible.

Bilyonaryo Enrique “Ricky” K. Razon Jr., through ICTSI Foundation, had offered to bankroll the construction of the mega vaccination center at no cost to the government.

Galvez and Duque supported the project as it would be made available to any entity using any vaccine brand (Razon is bringing in Moderna vaccines for his employees and their relatives).

The mega vaccine facility will use eight hectares of Nayong Pilipino’s idle property in the Entertainment City in Paranaque.

Similar to the highly-successful drive-in facility in Arizona built as a prototype by the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Nayong Pilipino mega vaccine facility will have a capacity to inoculate 12,000 individuals per day. In contrast, the Quirino grandstand which has been converted into a vaccination center by the Manila city government can only facilitate 300 jabs per day.

The Nayong Pilipino property is the biggest and most accessible idle state-owned land in Metro Manila ideal for the massive jab facility, which will be designed by urban planner and architect Jun Palafox.

The IATF has endorsed the project to the Department of Tourism and NFP, but only Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat has supported the project.

The NFP board was adamant that the government’s vaccination program could be done in other venues, such as existing parking garages, stadiums and theaters.

NPF demanded that the Razon group not only provide details and duration of its vaccination site, but also prove that there was no other viable alternative facility in Metro Manila.

It said the construction of roads and parking lots for the drive-through jab center would derail its plans to build a nursery, park ranger station and linear park on the property.

NPF is determined to pursue its cultural project, dubbed “Project Sambayanihan” this year so that it could be completed before June 2022 and declared a a legacy project of the President.

It claimed that a team of architects and horticulturists have been tapped since January 2021 to get the project off the drawing board.

Members of the NPF board were appointed by Duterte in 2019 or a year after the president fired the entire management and board of directors of the agency for alleged corruption.

The NPF members, led by Patricia Yvette Ocampo, were sacked just hours after they launched the $1.5 billion casino resort project of the Landing group which the President found grossly disadvantageous to the government as it was awarded without a bidding. The project was targeted to open in 2022.

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