By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero has filed a resolution calling on the Senate to investigate the alleged graft and corrupt practices committed by former trustees and officials of the Nayong Pilipino Foundation (NPF) when it entered into a P1.5-billion integrated resort project deal with Landing Resorts Philippines Development Corp.
The deal involves the supposed construction of an integrated resort and theme park to be called NayongLanding in the Entertainment City in Parañaque City.
Escudero, in filing Senate Resolution No. 858, urged the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to investigate NPF’s 50-year lease agreement with Landing Resorts Philippines Development Corporation whose parent company is the Hong Kong-listed Landing International.
The project—which is situated near Resorts World, Solaire, City of Dreams and Okada Manila—is supposed to be completed in 2022.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier fired the entire board members and officials of the NPF for supposedly approving a “grossly disadvantageous” lease contract with a foreign firm, as the government stands to lose at least P517-million a year in land rental.
“Corruption, power play, incompetence and dishonesty especially if government is involved, adversely affect not only this particular project but other high-stakes development projects of the government,” Escudero said.
The Senate committee on banks and financial institutions chairman said further the costs and consequences of corruption are very damaging to the country’s “Build, Build, Build” program. “It distorts our much-needed infrastructure developments, it delays or even scraps services needed by those who rely on government,” he said.
In calling for a Senate probe, Escudero said he also wants to look into the other business interests of Landing International in the Philippines.
“There are talks that Landing is engaged in other business activities in the country using affiliates and local partners. Are these in government, too? Do these involve the same supposition and allegations of corruption?” he pointed out.
Escudero said it is in the best interest of the public to exact accountability from public officers and investors in government.