Manila Sports Council (MaSCo) Vice Chairman Norby Rivera said that news about the redevelopment of the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex (RMSC) into a shopping mall was just based mainly on hearsays.
“Those are just hearsays. It is not really confirmed if there were agreements already done regarding the issue. Those are just rumors and I think it has no assurance yet,” Rivera told The Manila Times.
“It may push through but it may also not. It still depends on the decision of Mayor (Joseph Ejercito Estrada),” Rivera added.
The Office of the City Mayor is yet to release a statement regarding the issue.
Meanwhile, two national sports associations (NSAs) housed inside he RMSC expressed opposite views on the issue. Philippine Weightlifting Association (PWA) Vice President Elbert Atilano said in a phone interview that RMSC is “no longer conducive to athletic training due to pollution.”
“With regards to the standard of the complex, it is already old and small. The problem is that the one who owns that is the City of Manila. But for me, they should put up a separate complex but not just in Metro Manila. Other regions or identified centers in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao should be put up,” Atilano said.
Atilano pointed out that better facilities could improve the standard of Philippine sports. He also acknowledged the need for the decentralization of sports in the country, noting that their distance from their families during training affects their performance.
On the other hand, Philippine Table Tennis Federation (PTTF) President Ting Ledesma said that instead of developing RMSC into a mall, it should be developed into a better sports complex. “Of course, I don’t want that to happen. They should just develop this into a place wherein a lot of sports could be accommodated. There are a lot of places where they can place that.”
Ledesma said that there were no recent news coming from the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) informing them that the complex will be turned into a mall. However, Ledesma said that the issue was first raised in 2014. But if the project will push through, Ledesma said that it would mean a huge sacrifice for many NSAs inside the RMSC.
“Right now, I am not sure if it will push through but if it will, then many of us will sacrifice. That is I am sure of,” he said.