The Hong Kong-based firm planning put up a theme park and casino on government property will push through with the $1.5-billion project despite the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to fire the entire board of the Nayong Pilipino Foundation (NPF) over the controversial deal.
Landing International Development Ltd., which is listed in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, said its NayonLanding integrated resort project at Entertainment City in Parañaque “is still pushing through and its lease contract with NPF is still valid and effective.”
“From the group’s point of view, the recent decision of the Philippine government to replace members of the NPF board of trustees did not affect the validity of the subject contract of lease,” the company said in a statement a few hours after Malacañang announced the firing of the NPF board.
Landing International said that the term of lease executed between NPF and Landing Resorts Philippines Development Corp. would be for a period of 25 years only, commencing from the date of execution of the contract.
“Unless the lease contract is canceled or nullified on solid legal grounds by the courts, Landing has reason to believe that it is a valid leaseholder and can legally proceed with its project,” the company said.
Landing International, which is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, operates a casino hotel in the Korean resort island of Jeju.
It said, however, that subject to and upon approval of an application with the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), the term of the lease might run for 50 years “as provided for and specifically allowed” by the Tourism Act of 2009 “as an incentive to encourage foreign investments in the Philippines.”
The company broke ground on the NayonLanding project on Tuesday.
Landing also said that it was granted a provisional license by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. to operate a casino in 2022 – once the 10-year moratorium on new casinos at Entertainment City ends – provided that it could comply with all the requirements of the law and existing regulations. /atm