Amid green concerns, DOT says no trees will be affected by proposed mega vaccination hub
Photo shows the Nayong Pilipino property in Parañaque City.
Nayong Pilipino/Facebook

Amid green concerns, DOT says no trees will be affected by proposed mega vaccination hub

Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - May 12, 2021 - 7:42pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism on Wednesday evening released a lengthy statement addressing the concerns hounding the plan to construct a temporary mega vaccination center on Nayong Pilipino Foundation's (NPF) property at Entertainment City in Parañaque City.

The DOT is particularly refuting the claims of Lucille Karen E. Malilong-Isberto, former Executive Director of the Nayong Pilipino Foundation (NPF), who resigned last Thursday after a reported conflict with Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo over the controversial vaccination site project.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) last month authorized the National Task Force against COVID-19 (NTF) to enter into an agreement with the NPF for the construction of this temporary inoculation facility.

The NPF, a government-owned and controlled corporation, which is an attached agency of the DOT, however, refused to sign this agreement. It raised environmental concerns.

“The abrupt cutting of close to 500 trees and other site works on the NPF property will kill the existing ecosystem. Once lost, it could take decades to recover this ecosystem,” the NPF said.

In a Facebook post on May 8, NFP uploaded a video showing how its property in Parañaque, restored itself from water to reclaimed land and now an urban forest. It added that it is also now a sanctuary for birds and other forms of life.

“Have one last look before it's gone,” it concluded on its post.

The DOT, however, countered this and said environmental concerns were considered.

“This is false. No trees will be affected,” the tourism department said.

It once again cited that the head of the team of architects engaged for the design of the mega vaccination site, is Architect Jun Palafox, who is also an environmental planner.

“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,” the DOT said.

On presentation of plan

The DOT also countered Isberto’s claims “that no details were presented to the NPF and that the plan was presented based just on a non-clear YouTube video.”

In an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel, Isberto lamented that it will be illegal for the NPF to allow the free use of the land over a "mere letter” and a “YouTube video.” She was referring to the video that features a vaccination facility in the United States which would be the model for jab hub that will soon rise on the NPF property.

 “This is not true. The DOT received a letter dated 8 April 2021 from NTF Secretary Galvez seeking consideration of the Nayong Pilipino Foundation of the proposal. On the same date, the NPF Board of Trustees, including Atty. Isberto, met and approved the request for the use of the said property,” the tourism agency said.

It added that there were two meetings between the NPF technical and the team of architects engaged by the private sector
“to construct the free and temporary public walk-in and drive-thru vaccination center.”

 “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 site that was offered by NPF, and accepted by the private sector architects, is the area where there would have minimal impact to the environment,” the DOT furthered adding that Isberto was present in one of those meetings last April 17.

Likewise, the DOT said this was backed by the minutes of the meetings that could prove the NPF officials were present in the discussion.

The DOT released a proposed design the NPF presented as an option that was considered by the design team of Palafox, based on the final design. It said the option, bearing handwritten notes of NPF officials, was used by the private sector design team. 

Scanned copy of the design supposedly presented by the Nayong Pilipino Foundation with their handwritten notes.
Design of the Palafox group, according to the DOT.

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