ANOTHER world-class training center – this time exclusively for member of the Philippine Team — is soon to rise in the coastal municipality of Mariveles in Bataan.
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez and Bataan Governor Albert Garcia on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Agreement on ‘deed of donation’ and turnover of the 25 hectares of land which will be the site for the soon to rise Philippine Sports Training Center — the next training hub for the country’s next generation of athletes.
The partnership was made possible with the help of Senator Bong Go, Chairman of the Senate Sports Committee, who was one of the major players for the passing of Republic Act 11214 (An Act Establishing a Sports Complex known as the ‘Philippine Sports Training Center) which was signed into law by President Duterte in 2019.
“This is another milestone in our quest for sports excellence,” said Ramirez, a two-time PSC Chief from Davao.
“Nagpapasalamat tayo sa ating mga mambabatas, kay Pangulong Duterte at sa provincial government of Bataan dahil masisimulan na nating maipatayo ang bagong training center ng ating mga atleta,” added Ramirez, celebrating his 71st birthday by signing the most significant document as PSC Chief.
Since the Philippines first competed in the Olympic Games in 1924 in Paris, the known sports complex used as training hub for the Nationals was the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila which was constructed in 1927 and was inaugurated in time for the 1934 Far Eastern Championship Games. The land was donated by the Vito Cruz family.
During the Marcos administration in the 80s, ULTRA (now the Philippine Sports Arena) become the satellite venue for athletes training.
For hosting the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, a sports center and world-class football and track and field stadium was built in Tarlac under the care of the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) but its was planned to use by NAS.
“Long overdue na ito. Kaya pagsisikapan naming maipatayo ito kaagad. We need this, masyado nang masikip ang RSMC at ULTRA, hindi na fit for training talaga. Kaya tiyaga tiyaga pa muna tayo,” said Ramirez.
Ramirez was joined in the MOA signing held at the Oriental Hotel by Commissioners Ramon ‘El Presidente’ Fernandez, Arnold Agustin, Celia Kiram and National Academy of Sports (NAS) Executive Director Prof. Joy Reyes.
Ramirez said that P3.5 billion was already earmarked for the construction of the sports center and training facilities for baseball, beach and indoor volleyball, bowling, swimming, diving, football, gymnastics, archery, BMX cycling, lawn baĺls, petanque, rugby, skeet and trap shooting, track and field, lawn tennis, track and velodrome cycling,arnis, badminton, basketball, boxing, billiards and snooker, chess, dance sports, fencing, floorball, futsal, hand ball, jujitsu, karate, muay thai, pencak silat, rugby, sambo, soft tennis , squash, table tennis, taekwondo, triathlon, weightlifting, wrestling and wushu.