CLARK FREEPORT ZONE, Pampanga – Not just one but two training centers will serve as the new home for Filipino athletes in the future.
Sports officials on Monday agreed to the separate proposals made by Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) and the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) for the use of their respective land as site where two national training centers are being planned to be built.
The decision was made after a technical working group tasked to spearhead the construction of the national training center that will replace the 81-year-old Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Vito Cruz, Manila made an ocular inspection on the two sites down North.
After hearing the proposals of both CIAC and BCDA following the site inspection, the group, composed of Pampanga Rep. Yeng Guiao, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco, and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Ritchie Garcia recommended the use of both properties
“I think instead of just having one area for the sports complex, we now have two areas. And instead of having a short-term to medium-term (goal), we now have a short-term, medium-term, and a long-term plan. It worked out for everybody,” said Guiao during the technical working group meeting held at the CIAC Corporate Office here.
However, it is still unclear how funds for the construction of the two sites will be raised.
Guiao has long called for the construction of a new training facility for Filipino athletes as he filed House bills supporting the plan in his capacity as the vice chairman of the House Committee on Youth and Sports.
“It’s a win-win solution,” said Guiao, also the head coach of Rain or Shine in the PBA. “It’s been our longtime dream especially myself to have the national training center in our area. We will do our best to make it a success.”
The CIAC property is located inside the Clark Freeport Zone near the former Expo Pilipino and Sacobia River, while the BCDA land is in Capas, Tarlac adjacent to the historic Capas National Shrine where the proposed Clark Green City will be built.
CIAC officials led by president Dino Tanjuatco said the Clark Field land is now ready for the construction of the training site.
On the other hand, BCDA project manager Tom Macrohon said that while the master plan for the Clark Green City will be developed within the next 50 years, the training center could be finished in the year 2020s with a provision for a larger sports complex.
In the end, the technical working group chose both sites.
“Definitely, it’s better to have more than less,” said House Committee on Youth and Sports chairman Rep. Anthony Del Rosario of the first district of Davao Del Norte.
“The last thing we want is to make a bill and then 10 years down the road, people will start complaining that we weren’t thinking about the future when we made this law,” Del Rosario added.