Landing International Development Corp has had its IR lease agreement in Manila’s Entertainment City suspended, pending Pagcor and National Economic Development Authority approval.
State-owned developer Nayong Pilipino Foundation has also been ordered by the Philippines’ Commission on Audit to cease the agreement for the multi-use resort, following accusations of a substantially underpriced contract.
A report from the commission in June stated the NPF had agreed the deal without “advertisement to the public to solicit offers from other interested parties to ensure that the proposal is the most advantageous to the government.”
The lease agreement of $266,950 a month currently values each square metre of the 9.5 hectare development at $2.81, compared to a government report citing a monthly lease of $11.24 per sq m on neighbouring plots.
The official status of Landing’s integrated resort has been in doubt since its announcement in April of this year, when chairman Yang Zhihui stated a licence application with Pagcor was “under negotiation.”
Pagcor countered the claim, adding it recognises “no pending formal application,” especially since the new casino licence moratorium announced by president Duterte in January.
With the current lease agreement predicted to deny the Philippines government an estimated $9.6m annually, the request that it continue only with the approval of Pagcor and the NEDA seems an unachievable task.
Whatever the reason for Duterte generating obstacles for casino industry growth, Landing International may find that should it increase the lease agreement, the NEDA at least may prove themselves significantly more amenable.