The construction of the mega-vaccination site at the Nayong Pilipino Foundation property is not illegal, the Department of Tourism said on Wednesday.
In a statement, the DOT said the project would be used for public purposes and not to generate income.
"The use of the vacant lot is aligned with Presidential Decree No. 1445 or the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines which provides that 'government funds or property shall be spent or used solely for public purposes,'" the DOT said.
The tourism department also contradicted claims that there were no details on the property would be converted into a vaccination center.
"This is not true. The Department of Tourism (DOT) received a letter dated 8 April 2021 from National Task Force (NTF) Secretary (Carlito) Galvez (Jr.) seeking consideration of the Nayong Pilipino Foundation for the proposal," DOT said.
DOT further explained that there were two meetings held with the NPF Technical Team and architects from a private sector to construct free and temporary public walk-in and drive thru vaccination centers.
"As a matter of fact, it was the NPF who identified the area in the Parañaque property where the facility is to be constructed," the department said.
Meanwhile, DOT dismissed reports that the construction of the site would affect 500 trees at the NPF property.
Architect Jun Palafox, an environmental planner, will handle the design of the mega vaccination site, DOT added.
"Accordingly, the environment is of paramount consideration in the architectural plans. The architectural team has made sure to build the temporary vaccination facility around existing grasslands and trees," DOT said.
Different civil society groups called for the cancellation of the controversial vaccination site at NPF Property as it would deepen vaccine inequality and damage urban forests in Metro Manila.
Health expert Dr. Tony Leachon earlier said over "24 Oras" that the government should look for 5,000 vaccination sites instead of building a huge vaccination center that could become a superspreader of the virus. —Consuelo Marquez/NB, GMA News