No dispute between Razon, Tan over mega vaccination center

Published May 12, 2021, 5:03 PM

by James A. Loyola

International Container Terminal Services Inc. and Alliance Global Group Inc. denied that there is any dispute between the two groups over the planned construction of a mega vaccination center on land owned by Nayong Pilipino at the Entertainment City.

    Allegations against the project include claims that it will cut down trees and that a casino will be built on the property. Both AGI and ICTSI’s Razon group own casino businesses.

The ICTSI Foundation submitted an unsolicited proposal to the government last March to build a temporary mega vaccination center in aid of the government’s goal to inoculate as many Filipinos as possible to curb the further spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and to achieve herd immunity by yearend.

The cost for construction of the center will be fully borne by ICTSI.  

“The proposed site is on a vacant portion of the Nayong Pilipino property along New Seaside Road, Entertainment City, in Paranaque,” said ICTSI.

It noted that, “Contrary to previous reports, the proposed site is actually a deserted, uninhabited and vacant area and not an urban forest as erroneously claimed.

“It must be remembered that the entire Entertainment City sits on reclaimed land and unused portions of it, along with the Nayong Pilipino property, have limited vegetation including non-endemic trees.”

Meanwhile, tycoon Andrew Tan’s holding company AGI clarified that the land it leased from Nayong Pilipino Foundation (NPF), which forms part of Westside City being jointly developed by Megaworld and Westside City Resorts World, Inc., is not the land where Nayong Pilipino plans to build its theme park.

“The said land lease deal between NFP and Westside City Resorts World, Inc., which materialized in 2014, is on an idle land across the supposed theme park property of Nayong Pilipino, which is on the other side of the water channel,” AGI said.

It noted that, “This is not the theme park land being referred to as the proposed site of the mega vaccination center.”

AGI explained that, in this area, there are two properties being separated by a water channel: the bigger property on the left side, where Nayong Pilipino is planning to build the theme park and also the area where the proposed Mega Vaccination Center is to be built, and the smaller property on the right side, which is what Tan’s group leased from NFP.

“We fully support Mr. Enrique Razon’s plan to build the Mega Vaccination Center, and in fact, we have already allowed the ICTSI Foundation to use our company’s property as their temporary construction staging area,” noted AGI Chief Executive Officer Kevin L. Tan.

ICTSI said that, within the proposed site is the mega quarantine center run by the Armed Forces of the Philippines that was also built by the Razon Group at no cost to the government. 

The new, temporary, and environmentally light vaccination facility has a design capacity to vaccinate as many as 10,000 to 12,000 people a day, roughly 300,000 a month. It will feature an ambulatory vaccination station and a drive-through area.

It will take 60 days to construct the facility in time for the arrival of bulk of vaccinations.  Moreover, it is designed to ensure that safety and health protocols are observed including enough space for physical distancing of all medical staff and vaccinees.    

“The facility is designed by Architect Jun Palafox, a renowned environmental planner, who is giving his services free of charge. It must be put in context that one of the advocacies of the ICTSI Foundation is sustainable environmental protection,” the firm said. 

The proposal has the full support of Malacañang Palace, the Philippine Inter-Agency Task Force, the Philippine Department of Health, the Philippine Department of Tourism, the City Government of Paranaque along with several legislators.    

However, the board of Nayong Pilipino Foundation, Inc. has not signed the Memorandum of Agreement to build the facility.In the meantime, the country’s mass inoculation program that will save lives faces delays with the absence of a mass and efficient inoculation program along with the hope of achieving herd immunity by the end of the year.