Nayong Pilipino chair to abide by Duterte’s decision; denies any wrongdoing
Nayong Pilipino Foundation (NPF) chairperson Patricia Ocampo said she would abide by President Duterte’s decision to fire the NPF board of trustees and management team, but denied any wrongdoing.
Ocampo denied that NPF top officials were involved in alleged graft over the lease contract for the $1.5-billion NayonLanding integrated casino resort to be located in Entertainment City Manila in 2022.
This developed after Malacañang announced Duterte’s decision to fire the NPF board of trustees and management, citing a disadvantageous lease contract with Landing Resorts Philippines Development Corp. (Landings Philippines).
The announcement came in the middle of the company’s groundbreaking program on Tuesday, shortly before Ocampo herself delivered a speech in the event.
In a statement, Ocampo thanked Duterte for the opportunity, but expressed remorse that “it has come to this.”
“[On] behalf of the board of trustees of the Nayong Pilipino Foundation, I would like to thank the President for having been given the opportunity to serve the Filipino people. It is regrettable that it has come to this, but we understand that we serve at the pleasure of the President,” she said.
She said they will continue to serve the President in “our personal capacities as we firmly believe in the President’s fight to rid the country of graft and corruption.”
Nevertheless, she denied the accusations hurled against them, while defending Landings Philippines’ parent company, Landing International Development Ltd.
“I strongly deny accusations that there was graft and corruption. On the contrary, the lease contract with Landing International Development Ltd. is above-board, and is highly advantageous to the government and to the Filipino people,” she said.
NayonLanding is envisioned as a leisure and entertainment center that will be built on a 9.5-hectare property owned by NPF.
The project will feature Filipino-inspired architecture and interior design that will be the country’s newest entertainment and leisure hotspot by 2022. The centerpiece will be a Filipino cultural theme park with iconic architecture, and will have a 1,500-room world-class hotel and meetings and convention facilities.
Ocampo also said that the term of the lease for the project is for 25 years starting from the date of execution of the lease contract and not 70 years as alleged by critics.
This was later reaffirmed by the Landing International Group in a separate statement.
Monthly rentals were pegged at P360 per square meters, and the advance rental amount was placed at P827.05 million.
On top of this, NPF will receive an additional monthly rental equivalent to 10 percent of net profits from the operations of its attractions and theme parks after taxes exclusive of the value-added tax.
“We negotiated what we believed then, and believe now, are most advantageous terms and conditions for the government and the people,” Ocampo said.
Lease is ‘valid’
In a separate statement, the Landing International Group said that the decision to replace the top officials of NPF “did not affect the validity of the subject contract of lease.”
Moreover, Landing International clarified that the term of lease executed between NPF and Landing Philippines is for a period of 25 years only commencing from the date of execution of the contract of lease.
“Unless the lease contract is canceled or nullified on legal grounds by the courts, Landing has reason to believe that it is a valid leaseholder and can legally proceed with its project,” the statement read.
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