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Leyte provincial gov’t looking for MacArthur Beach investor

Thursday, January 29, 2009 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

[ BusinessWorld Online ]

TACLOBAN CITY — The Leyte provincial government plans to award next month the 25-year contract to renovate and operate a government-owned hotel at the historic Red Beach in Palo town.

Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho L. Petilla, however, said they still have to find the right investor to sink in P300 million to renovate the 43-room MacArthur Beach Resort Hotel.

"My timetable is as soon as possible. By the end of September, the renovation would be done in time for the Oct. 20 Leyte Landing celebration," Mr. Petilla told BusinessWorld.

The governor declined to divulge the names of interested bidders. Applications are still being accepted, he added.

Management of the hotel has been transferred to the provincial government from the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) under Executive Order 756, which took effect this month.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued the directive last October.

Losing proposition

Mr. Petilla said the hotel has been losing, with the PTA subsidizing its operations at P400,000 a month.

The MacArthur Beach Resort and Hotel was built by First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos but was sequestered by the Aquino administration after the 1986 EDSA Revolution.

The property is at Red Beach, site of one of the greatest naval battles in history. The hotel is a few meters away from the MacArthur Landing Memorial in Palo, Leyte.

The hotel’s rooms are all decorated with native materials and MacArthur pictures. It has picnic grounds, swimming pools, picnic tents and tables, beach kiosks, volleyball ground, and indoor games facilities.

Mr. Petilla said the improvement of the hotel will pave the way for the development of the remaining vacant areas of the nearby government center.

A long-term plan is to turn the province-owned lot into an economic and leisure hub complete with a five-star hotel, a leisure park, an information technology facility, government offices, commercial areas and public transport terminal. — Sarwell Q. Meniano


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