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Ex-Nayong Pilipino exec: Board not against vaccination site, but clear legalities first

Resigned Nayong Pilipino Foundation (NPF) Executive Director Lucille Karen Malilong-Isberto clarified that the board is not opposed to the planned mega vaccination site, but some legalities need to be addressed for this to push through.

According to Isberto, the NPF released the authority to use the property as a vaccination site on April 8, save for a few clarifications.

"Kami sa Nayong Pilipino, supportive sa pandemic response. 'Yung hinihingi lang po namin, sundin lang po natin 'yung batas sa paggamit ng government property," she said in The Mangahas Interviews.

(We at Nayong Pilipino are supportive to the pandemic response. What we are asking for is that laws on government property be followed.)

Isberto, who left her post over the weekend, said details of the planned vaccination center should be cleared first, such as ownership of the facility.

Under the proposal, the ICTSI Foundation will shoulder the cost of the mega vaccination center at the NPF property along New Seaside Road in the Entertainment City in Paranaque.

The envisioned mega vaccination center will be designed by Architect Felino "Jun" Palafox who agreed to waive service fees. It will have a capacity to vaccinate as much as 12,000 people daily or around 300,000 monthly.

According to Isberto, there should be no problem if the ICTSI would only donate money. But allowing it to use a government property is another story.

"Ano ba talaga 'yung gagawin ng ICTSI para sa inyo? Kasi kung magdo-donate lang sila ng pera sa gobyerno, sa DOH for example, eh okay naman 'yun, hindi po 'yun bawal. Pero 'yung ipapagamit 'yung property sa kanila, 'yun po 'yung medyo kwestyonable," she said.

(What will the ICTSI really be doing for you? If they are just going to donate funds to the government, the Department of Health for example, that's okay, that is not prohibited. But to allow them to use the property is quite questionable.)

In the same interview, Isberto noted that the property is within the buffer zone of a protected area and environmental considerations should apply.

For its part, the ICTSI Foundation said the proposed mega vaccination center will use a vacant portion of the property and not an urban forest, as critics claimed.

This was echoed by the Department of Tourism (DOT), which said that the construction of the site was in accordance with laws and that details of the project have already been made available.

The NPF is a government-owned and -controlled corporation (GOCC) under the Department of Tourism. It is mandated to promote, encourage, and initiate research and development projects and activities in social sciences, humanities, social and amelioration, and allied fields.

Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr. over the weekend called on the board of the NPF to approve the construction of the vaccination site, citing a memorandum from Malacanang.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea last week released a memorandum directing the NPF to "undertake any and all acts necessary to allow the DOH or the NTF to use the NPF property." -MDM, GMA News