Tycoons push Nayong Pilipino vaccination center

Iris Gonzales - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The proposed mega vaccination center at the Nayong Pilipino property in Parañaque’s Entertainment City would help the Philippines achieve herd immunity, tycoon Enrique Razon Jr. said in a television interview on Tuesday night.

He said the proposed temporary site would be similar to the large inoculation centers in the US, which are able to accommodate up to 8,000 to 12,000 people a day.

“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,” Razon’s International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) Foundation said in a statement.

The foundation said it will take 60 days to construct the facility, in time for the arrival of the bulk of vaccines. It also said the center will be designed to ensure that safety and health protocols are observed, including enough space for physical distancing of medical staff and vaccine recipients.

ICTSI said it will bear all costs for the center’s construction.

Razon noted that around 451,000 people have been fully vaccinated – only 0.4 percent of the country’s over 100 million population.

“We need to vaccinate the people to be able to open the economy. At the rate the vaccinations are going, it will take years to obtain herd immunity,” he said.

No deal yet

However, the Nayong Pilipino Foundation (NPF), which owns the property, has yet to sign a memorandum of agreement with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, raising environmental concerns.

The NPF said the cutting of hundreds of trees will destroy the existing ecosystem and negatively impact Metro Manila residents.

However, Razon said it is a reclaimed area, not a forest park.

“This (pandemic) is the biggest crisis we are facing. It’s not a crisis of ipil-ipil or talahib. Maybe there’s a crisis of stupidity, but this is a health crisis,” he said.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) yesterday said it has committed that no trees will be taken down to make way for the facility.

The infrastructure will be built around the grasslands and trees in the foundation’s lot, it said.

“It should be noted that the head of the team of architects engaged for the design of the mega vaccination site, architect Jun Palafox Jr., is an environmental planner,” the DOT said.

AGI backs Razon

Alliance Global Group Inc. (AGI), the holding company of tycoon Andrew Tan, said the company fully supports Razon’s plan to build the mega-vaccination center.

“We have allowed ICTSI Foundation to use our company’s property as their temporary construction staging area,” said AGI CEO Kevin Tan.

AGI said the land it leased from 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 a theme park.

“There are two properties separated by a water channel: the bigger property on the left, 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 we have leased from NFP,” Tan said. – Elijah Felice Rosales

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