The Rizal Memorial Sports Complex and two other major venues that will be utilized in the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games will start undergoing renovations for the Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 meet.
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Butch Ramirez made the announcement on Tuesday following the appropriation of a total of PHP 842 million by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) for the repairs of 11 other facilities, including the Ninoy Aquino Stadium, Philsports Arena, the Baguio training center.
“We are making sure that there are ten to twelve 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 finish by September.”
Ramirez made the statement in the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the Amelie Hotel-Manila, stressing the government agency has not been remiss in its role of extending major support to help Filipino athletes in their quest to win anew 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 that PACGOR, through Chairman and CEO Andrea Domingo, will be able to release the amount as soon as possible.
“Nakiki-usap kami sa PAGCOR that SEA Games is coming na matulungan naman kami para masimulan na yung construction,” said the PSC chief, who nonetheless understands where PAGCOR is coming from.
“Of course, it’s not easy asking for eight-hundred, forty-two million,” he added.
During the same session, Ramirez disclosed that he had held a general assembly with athletes and coaches on Wednesday to explain everything 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 numbered at 1,452, with 578 of them composed of 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, wind surfing, and three PHILSPADA.
“Ito yung malaking chance na mag-medal sa SEA Games until the Olympics,” said Ramirez.