By Ben Rosario, August 8 2018; Manila Bulletin


Image Credit to Rappler

The entire board of directors of the Nayong Pilipino Foundation (NPF) may have had it coming when they were ordered sacked by President Rodrigo Duterte, a Commission on Audit (COA) report indicated.

In its 2017 annual audit report released recently, COA questioned NPF officials for approving the lease agreement with Landing Resorts Philippines Development Corporation prior to the approval by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) of the lessees’ license to operate a casino.

MB FILE—Commission on Audit.

Commission on Audit

COA said the board should have deferred approval of the resolution approving the lease contract until PAGCOR had given its imprimatur on the casino aspect of the deal.

The same audit report raised issue on the failure of the NPF board to furnish auditors copies of supporting documents for the lease of another property which was also flagged by the COA for Nayong Pilipino’s failure to submit the supporting documents. It was for the lease of another 5.43 hectares to Resorts World Bayshore City, Inc.

On Tuesday, Duterte ordered the dismissal of the entire NPF board for approving a “grossly disadvantageous deal,” on the same day a Chinese firm broke ground on a $1.5-billion integrated resort and casino on the foundation’s

Auditors chided the NPF board for its inability to submit any proof that it advertised the project prior to moving on with the deal with Landing, this, being a requirement under the Government Procurement Act.

The publication of the project is imperative in seeking out offers from other interested investors and help guarantee that government will be able to get the fairest if not the most advantageous deal for the project.

“BOT was not able to compare the offer of LRPDC with other quotations/offers from interested investor to determine whether the said offer of was the most advantageous to Nayong Pilipino Foundation,” the COA report stated.

State auditors noted that the board was also unable to submit a report to COA stating that an independent appraisal was conducted to determine the appropriate rental rates that the government firm may collect from Landing.

COA also alleged the Nayong Pilipino officials were unable to secure the approval of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) when it adopted on November 7, 2017 a resolution accepting Landing’s build-operate-transfer proposal.

COA disclosed that the board just withdrew the project from the Public-Private Partnership Program without the NEDA approval.

Auditing records indicated that the lease agreement granted Landing the right to operate the Nayong Pilipino park in Pasay City in exchange for a P14,348,600 monthly rental payment.

The state-owned firm was also to receive 10 percent of the net profits, exclusive of tax from the earnings of the park.

The 50-year lease may be renewed for another 25 years, according to COA.

On the Resorts World deal, lamented that although the deal was launched in 2014, NPF remained oblivious to the documentation requirements under auditing procedures

Documents sought by the COA included disbursement vouchers, bank statements, records and other supporting documents.