Tacloban mayor not giving up on hotel Imelda Marcos built
TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, Philippines — Like an aging beauty queen, it has been quite some time since the Leyte Park Resort Hotel reigned in her salad days as the prettiest hotel in the Eastern Visayas, temporary home to thousands of local and foreign tourists.
Time, typhoons, and human politics, however, have all taken their toll on the 43-year-old property that was once known as the dame of hotels along Luzon’s eastern seaboard, built with the persistence of former first lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos.
But Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, a nephew of the former first lady, is not giving up on an Old Beauty.
“It’s not a question of venturing [into hotel business], all I want is to save it and make use of it. It’s for the Taclobanons,” said the mayor, who at age 60 is old enough to have witnessed the hotel’s construction and opening in 1979.
Romualdez said that the city government was seeking to secure a P1-billion loan from the Land Bank of the Philippines , half of which will be used to buy and rehabilitate the hotel.
After renovation, Romualdez said the facility would be offered to a private company that has the capacity and knowledge in running a hotel business.
The reopening of the hotel, he said, would not only provide at least 2,000 jobs but also add to the hotel rooms needed by the city in anticipation of an influx of tourists and even investors with the reopening of the economy that has been affected by the pandemic.
Romualdez said they would hire a private company that would help the city government redesign the hotel with a convention center inside the 6.1-hectare property to accommodate thousands of visitors during gatherings.
The experience is not new to the city government either.
After the hotel was sequestered by the government in 1986, ownership was transferred to the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza), Privatization Management Office (PMO), and the provincial government of Leyte.
Tieza is an agency of the Department of Tourism and is responsible for implementing the policies and programs of the Department of Tourism related to the development, promotion, and supervision of tourism projects in the country.
The PMO, on the other hand, serves as the national government’s marketing arm concerning transferred assets, government corporations, and other properties assigned to it by the Privatization Council for disposition.
In the 1990s, the hotel was leased to a private company, but the company decided to build a newer property in the city and shut down Leyte Park Resort Hotel last year.
Romuladez said the necessary documents were being prepared for the city government’s possible takeover of the hotel using the P1 billion planned loan from the LandBank, which gave a P1.7-billion credit line to the local government.
Half of the amount will be set aside for the purchase and rehabilitation of the hotel while the rest will be used for other city projects, like drainage and road repair.