In what many call as a miracle no short of its feat in 2005, facilities owned and operated by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) have been refurbished completely and are ready for use by the athletes competing in the 30th Southeast Asian Games firing off on November 30.
Sight of workers filling the gaps at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex wound down over the weekend as PSC Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez announced the completion to competition form of the Rizal Basketball Coliseum, the Ninoy Aquino Stadium, the Rizal Football Field, the RMSC lawn tennis court and the facilities at the Philsports in Pasig City.
“We were on target,” Ramirez exclaimed. “We gave the people an assurance that we will finish the competition areas on top and our various teams in the PSC did their jobs well. They delivered.”
Ramirez also clarified that the squash competition is traditionally held at the Manila Polo Club.
These facilities, Ramirez said, were not originally intended for use of the SEA Games hosting.
The Phisgoc (Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee) had wanted all disciplines held at the Subic and Clark complexes, including the newly-built New Clark City, which is owned and managed by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).
“But several of their facilities were not up to IF (International Federation) standards. And since the PSC-owned facilities have been used for international events may times in the past and have met the IF requirements, it was a no-brainer that some of the SEA Games events are hosted by our venues,” Ramirez said.
“These are very old venues, we admit. But the history that wraps every leaves and grass around these facilities speak of the heroism of our athletes. We deemed it right to put the venues back in their original forms,” Ramirez added.
While the Phisgoc is in charge of running the whole SEA Games affair, Ramirez made sure the training of the Filipino athletes competing in the biennial meet were funded well by the agency tasked by government to look after their welfare.
“We have spent more than a billion pesos for the athletes’ training alone. We are not looking just at the SEA Games, we are also funding their training for possible Olympic slots, in Tokyo and beyond,” Ramirez narrated.
For the rehabilitation of the various PSC-owned facilities, Ramirez thanked the Pagcor (Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corp.) for the P800-million aid which was used to rehabilitate the venues.
“The Pagcor aid was the biggest boost to our drive in rehabilitating our venues. Pagcor Chairman Andrea Domingo made sure that money was spent well, wisely and prudently,” shared Ramirez.
The PSC Chief said the agency will be a support group to the Phisgoc, the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and the various national sports associations (NSAs) under it in ensuring the country’s successful hosting of the Games.
The Philippines last hosted the SEA Games in 2005 – it’s third since the 1981 and 1991 Games, with Ramirez at the helm of its management.
The Philippine Team won the overall championship of the biennial meet on that year.