Malacanang stands firm on Nayong Pilipino vaccination site plan


THE PALACE on Tuesday asked Nayong Pilipino Foundation (NPF) to sign the deal allowing a private entity to put up a vaccination site on its property.

Presidential Spokesperson Herminio “Harry” L. Roque, Jr., in a televised news briefing on Tuesday, appealed to the Nayong Pilipino Board to tow the line in the government’s program to reach herd immunity.

NPF, a government-owned and controlled corporation, has been opposing the plan of a foundation owned by tycoon Enrique K. Razon, Jr. to establish a vaccination facility on its site, citing health and environmental risks.

The old Nayong Pilipino cultural theme park covers a 22-hectare area in the capital. The site vaccination facility is planned to be erected in an 8.5-hectare urban forest portion, which means trees will have to be cut.

“Iyong itatayo po doon sa Nayong Pilipino, makeshift po iyan, hindi po iyan permanente, parang mga tents lang din po iyan (What we will put up in Nayong Pilipino are makeshift, not permanent, like tents),” Mr. Roque said, noting that the facility will be used for the inoculation of various sectors.

Mr. Roque earlier said the plan is consistent with the President’s police power and aimed at protecting Filipinos’ right to health.

“We need these mega vaccine facilities when we start inoculating all sectors in society,” Mr. Roque said in Filipino.

Meanwhile, environmental activist group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment said there are other sites that could be tapped for the vaccination program.

“We believe it is not difficult and may even be more cost-effective to retrofit existing built environments like malls, golf courses, sports complexes, and the like for vaccination facilities,” Leon Dulce, national coordinator of Kalikasan, said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The Nayong Pilipino urban forest park is a critical safe space that will benefit the 1.2 million residents of Pasay and Paranaque suffering from the pandemic lockdown. Experts concluded last year that we need green open spaces now more than ever to provide the public with socially distanced breathing and recreation space, pollution and disease control, and long-term climate resilience,” he said. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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