Tieza okays Tacloban’s bid to take over hotel built by Imelda

By Joey Gabieta

October 29, 2022

TACLOBAN CITY—The Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza) has welcomed the decision of the city government of Tacloban to buy, rehabilitate and run the hotel built by former first lady Imelda Marcos.

Mark Lapid, chief operating officer of the Tieza, said they have no objections to the move of the city government to take over the Leyte Park Resort Hotel.

"We are very glad that the city government will take over the Leyte Park Hotel. Otherwise, we (Tieza) will be the ones who will take over it," he said.

"But since the city government is interested and very aggressive in pursuing it, we are very happy and supportive of that idea," Lapid added, who was interviewed here during the switch-on ceremony of the aesthetic light and sound show at the San Juanico Bridge on Oct. 19.

The hotel is co-owned by the Tieza, an agency under the Department of Tourism responsible for developing, promoting and supervising tourist projects in the country.

Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez recently revealed the city's plan to secure a P1-billion loan from the Land Bank of the Philippines, half of which would be used to buy and rehabilitate the Leyte Park Resort Hotel. The remaining amount would be used for other City Hall projects.

He said the revitalized hotel could provide at least 2,000 jobs and would offer a new venue for large gatherings in the city.

"We are pursuing its operation just as our airport is undergoing its rehabilitation," he said, referring to Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport, which is currently undergoing a P1.42-billion renovation funded by the Department of Transportation.

Lone 5-star hotel

The hotel ceased to operate in 2021 after its private operator, Unimasters Conglomeration Inc., which had been leasing the facility since 1994, did not renew its contract with the government and chose to build its own hotel in the city.

The Leyte Park Resort Hotel was built in 1979 when the city mayor's aunt, Imelda Romualdez Marcos, was first lady of the country ruled by her husband, the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos Sr., father of President Marcos Jr.

The hotel was seized by the national government in 1987, as part of the so-called ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses.

The hotel, located on a hill overlooking the San Juanico Bridge that links the islands of Leyte and Samar, had 110 rooms with four pool villas, infinity pools, spa center, several restaurants and a convention center that could accommodate 2,000 people.

It was the only five-star hotel in Eastern Visayas built on a Leyte province lot, jointly managed by the Privatization Management Office, the provincial government and the Tieza. INQ