THE Philippines is not set to host a Southeast Asian Games in the near future but the country should now consider building a new stadium that would meet the rising international standards, according to a high-ranking local sports official.
The country won’t be in the hosting picture in the next decade, with Singapore staging the next SEA Games in 2015, Malaysia next in line, followed by Brunei and Vietnam, with Cambodia hosting the biennial meet for the first time in 2023.
But after seeing Myanmar staged this year's edition of the Games, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) vice-president Joey Romasanta said the country should now take steps in creating a brand new stadium to prepare for the Philippines’ turn to hold the meet.
“Dapat pag-isipan din natin (na gumawa ng bagong stadium) dahil nakakahiya na ang mga facilities natin,” Romasanta said days after the Myanmar Games ended.
The Rizal Memorial Sports Complex served as the main venue when the country hosted the SEA Games in 1981, 1991, and 2005. The stadium, however, may not be suitable for the country's hosting in 2025 and beyond.
POC president Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco actually broached the idea of building a new stadium in sites like Clark Field, Tanay, and even in the Cojuangco family-owned Hacienda Luisita.
Selling the Philippine Sports Commission-owned Rizal Memorial Sports Complex had also been suggested, with the proceeds going to the creation of the new stadium.
Romasanta said all his colleagues were impressed with the facilities built not only in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, but also in Laos four years ago.
“’Yung Laos and Myanmar na tingin ng iba ay mas progressive tayo, sila pa ’yung mas maganda ang facilities,” Romasanta said.
The POC official also mentioned Myanmar, which put up an elaborate opening and closing ceremonies.
“’Yung stadium pa lang nung opening ceremonies, wala tayong ganun. As a matter of pride, kailangang magpakita rin tayo,” said Romasanta.
To make the SEA Games hosting possible, Myanmar was able to secure grants from other countries like China to be able to build state-of-the-art facilties, something the Philiippines should also consider, according to Romasanta.
“Hindi rin naman kaya ng ibang countries na mag-host pero bakit nila nagagawa? It is because of the help from other countries,” said Romasanta.