PSC, Clark reach agreement for construction of national training center to replace age-old Rizal Complex
PSC chairman Ritchie Garcia and Pampanga Rep. Yeng Guiao say there is already an agreement in place for the construction of a national sports complex in Clark to replace the run-down Rizal Memorial Sports Complex. Jerome Ascano

THE long-overdue construction of a national training center for the country's athletes that will replace the age-old Rizal Memorial Sports Complex is close to becoming a reality.

Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Ritchie Garcia bared they are close to signing a deal with the Clark International Airport Corp. for the construction of the national training center in a 50-hectare land near the airport of the former US military base.

Garcia said the government sports agency and officials of (CIAC have in fact agreed in principle on the construction which could begin as early as next year.

“Inaayos na ‘yung site plan para masimulan na next year. Pero more or less, okay na ito. Finalization na lang ng agreement,” said Garcia.

The national training center has been long envisioned by local sports officials led by Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco to replace the Rizal Complex, which has become polluted, flood-prone, and no longer conducive for training.

Pampanga Rep. Yeng Guiao, who has long pushed for the construction of the sports complex, confirmed there is already a "meeting of minds" between sports officials and Clark top honchos.

"Chances are bright that the plan will materialize soon," Guiao, whose district covers the Clark complex, said. "We hope the agreement can be formalized later this month."

Guiao, who is also coach of Rain or Shine in the PBA, said he has filed a resolution for the construction of the Clark sports complex and he is set to gather all the stakeholders in Congress soon to fast-track the process.

"All the stakeholders will be invited to Congress so that we can reach an agreement," he said.

Guiao said it may take between P3 to 4 billion for the construction of the sports complex, which he said could either come from the sale of the run-down Rizal complex or the national budget.

Guiao said he and like-minded members of Congress hope to get an initial outlay of P1 billion for the sports complex through the General Appropriations Act.

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