PHILIPPINE Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez said on Friday that a 50-hectare Sports Olympic City inside Clark Development Zone in Pampanga would be constructed for the country’s hosting of the Southeast Asian Games in 2019.
The new sports complex in the former American Air Base will house the new training center for the country’s elite athletes, modern competition venues, athletes village, sports tourism attractions, and the Philippine Institute for Sports, according to Ramirez.
Ramirez is confident that the construction of the complex will be finished in three years just in time for the SEA Games, which the Philippines will be hosting for the fourth time.
“This is part of the plan of the BCDA (Bases Conversion Development Authority) to establish a Green City in Clark. It’s like creating a city within a city,” said Ramirez.
He said the plan was actually conceived by the BCDA through its president Vince Dizon.
“Actually, if plans push through, it’s the BCDA which will construct the new sports facilities for us. The BCDA and the PSC are both under the office of the President. So, It’s like we are riding in the same boat. As soon as the complex is ready, they will turn it over to us for management and control,” he added.
The idea of staging the 2019 SEA Games in Davao is facing several challenges including the board and lodging of the more than 8,000 athletes and officials from 11 participating nations.
“The construction of the new sports site in Clark is the best solution,” Ramirez noted.
The returning sports czar Ramirez, who also served as PSC chairman from 2003 to 2007 during the time of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, stressed that it’s about time for the Philippines to have new sports facilities considering the dilapidated condition of the Rizal Memorial Sports Center in Malate.
Former PSC chairman Richie Garcia previously made announcement to sell the 82-year old Rizal Memorial Sports Complex to finance the construction of a new athletes training center but it did not materialize.