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Duterte sacks Nayong Pilipino board members

President Rodrigo Duterte has fired the board of directors and management of the Nayong Pilipino Foundation (NPF) for approving a supposedly disadvantageous lease deal, Malacañang said on Tuesday.

Duterte’s spokesperson, Harry Roque, made the announcement after the President expressed exasperation over continuing corruption in government.

“He [Duterte] cited the case of Nayong Pilipino which leased government property for a ridiculous long period of time of 70 years, beyond the lifetime of anyone, and he considered this as a contract which was grossly disadvantageous to government,” Roque said at a press briefing.

“He therefore announced that he was sacking all members of the Board and Management of Nayong Pilipino. The papers that will formally terminate the entire management and the entire board of directors of Nayong Pilipino will be issued in due course by the Executive Secretary,” he added.

He also said Duterte wanted the cancellation of the contract.

Roque later clarified in a statement that the President only called for a review of the deal.

"In addition to the firing of the entire board of the Nayong Pilipino Foundation, Inc. (NPFI), the President has instructed a review of the Contract of Lease entered by NPFI with Landing Resorts Philippines Development Corp. (LRPDC), which the Chief Executive described, in his own words, as 'flawed,' in that it was entered into without public bidding and was disadvantageous to the government," the Palace official said.

Roque initially did not say which lease agreement NPF entered into, but the Palace's announcement coincided with the groundbreaking for the integrated casino-resort project that sits on NPF property.

The NPF is an attached agency of the Department of Tourism.

NPF board member Maria Fema Duterte, a distant relative of the President, in May filed a complaint against NPF chairperson Patricia Yvette Ocampo and other board members in relation to a lease agreement with Landing Resorts Philippines Development Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Landing International.

Fema Duterte alleged that government would lose P517 million a year or a total of P25.85 billion in the 50-year deal that supposedly involves the establishment of an integrated resort-casino.

In February 2017, the NPF was ordered reorganized in order "to undertake the remaining and interim functions of NPF, including looking for an alternative new site, and finalizing arrangements, for a new Nayong Pilpino that would be appropriate to its objectives as a showcase of Philippine culture."

It was noted in the Governance Commission for Government Owned or Controlled Corporations' Memorandum No. 2017-01 that a new organizational structure and staffing pattern for NPF is expected to address gaps in its current operations.

The said order was inked by GCG Chairman Samuel Dagpin, GCG Commissioner Michael Cloribel, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, and Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno. — with a report by Anna Felicia Bajo/RSJ/KBK/BM, GMA News