THE Rizal Memorial Sports Complex and two other major venues for the 30th Southeast Asian Games will undergo a major facelift for the Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 meet.
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez said P842 million from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) will go to the rehabilitation of the age-old complex and 11 other facilities, including the Ninoy Aquino Stadium, Philsports Arena, the Baguio training center, among others.
“We are making sure that there are 10-12 government sports facilities ready to assess, help the preparations of the PHISGOC (Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee),” said Ramirez. “We are hoping that all of these will be finished by September.”
Ramirez made the statement in the maiden Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the Amelie Hotel-Manila, stressing the government agency has not been re-miss in its role of extending major support to help Filipino athletes in their quest to win the overall title of the SEA Games.
Other than the game venues, also part of the PAGCOR appropriation is the refurbishment of the athletes’ dormitory, construction of a new medical building with eight to 10 medical doctors, two nutrition halls, and an ecumenical chapel.
“The sports facilities, dormitories, venues, halls, before the SEA Games bago na ang itsura ng Rizal, Ultra, and Baguio. So as chairman and leader of the (PSC board), I’m very happy to announce it before you (PSA),” Ramirez said in the session presented by San Miguel Corporation, PAGCOR, Tapa King, and Amelie Hotel-Manila.
Ramirez is confident PACGOR through chairman and CEO Andrea Domingo, will be able to release the amount as soon as possible.
“Nakikiusap kami sa PAGCOR that SEA Games is coming na matulungan naman kami para masimulan na 'yung construction,” said the PSC chief.
“Of course it’s not easy asking for P842 million,” he added.
During the same session, Ramirez also disclosed holding a general assembly with athletes and coaches on Wednesday to explain everything that the PSC have been doing to ensure a better showing for Team Philippines in the SEA Games.
“Pag nalaman nilang resolved yung mga needs ng mga bata at tsaka yung kaunting problema na hindi namin na-communicate, lalakas ang loob nila na tumutulong pala ang gobyerno,” he said.
“Kasi there’s always that nuisance na ang gobyerno ay wala.”
Ramirez said national athletes under the PSC care at Rizal Memorial and Philsports number 1,452, with 578 of them listed at junior development.
They are classified as platinum, class A, class B, class C, training pool, and junior development.
Platinum is composed of eight sports namely, billiards, bowling, taekwondo, weightlifting, wind surfing, and three PHILSPADA events.
“Ito yung malaking chance na mag-medal sa SEA Games until the Olympics,” said Ramirez.