Next PPP: Reinventing ‘Nayong Pilipino’
The Philippines on Thursday unveiled its latest public private partnership project to a packed audience raring for a unique opportunity: reinventing the Nayong Pilipino cultural theme park for the future.
Spearheaded by the Department of Tourism, an investor briefing was held before an eclectic mix of participants composed of foreign casino operators, builders, bankers and the country’s largest homegrown theme park operator, Enchanted Kingdom Inc.
The project, led by the Nayong Pilipino Foundation, was dubbed the New Nayong Pilipino at Entertainment City.
It would rise on a 9.5- hectare property along the reclaimed part of Manila Bay beside Solaire Resort and Casino of ports and gaming tycoon Enrique Razon Jr. The site, near the Naia Expressway, places it minutes away from Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport complex.
The project would be bid out later this year, and the tourism department was targeting to name a winner by early next year. The whole project was expected to be finished by October 2021.
Private investors are being enlisted to build and design the project, estimated to cost about P1.5 billion, and operate and maintain it throughout the 23-year concession period.
The government will provide the land, overall design vision and regulate aspects of the operations.
The New Nayong Pilipino, conceptualized under the Aquino administration and approved by President Duterte in November last year, is among the smallest PPPs to be approved.
It nevertheless stands out among other projects in the pipeline—mostly airports, trains and roads—given its focus on history and culture.
“It’s a very creative and entrepreneurial exercise,” Joseph Anthony M. Quesada, executive director of the Nayong Pilipino Foundation, said in an interview.
The site was smaller than the 45-hectare Nayong Pilipino park near Naia. That project, which traces its roots to the early 1970s, was shuttered in 2002 to make way for Naia’s expansion.
The foundation currently operates a Nayong Pilipino park in Clark, Pampanga.
Quesada hoped the project would generate 1,000 to 3,000 new jobs. Filipino workers based overseas, who have acquired world-class skills in the entertainment and service sectors, could also be enticed to come home and work at the Bagong Nayong Pilipino site.
“From the way it was presented, it looks viable,” said Ricky Tamparong, who handles business development at the Enchanted Kingdom theme park in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
Casino operators in Entertainment City are also anticipating the project.
“Anyone that is involved in Entertainment City should at least be aware of what this project is about,” Okada Manila president Steve Wolstenholme said.
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