Rizal complex saved
For sure, the PSC’s decision to shelve negotiations for the sale of Rizal Memorial Sports Complex (RMSC) brought the smile back to various organizations and individuals wanting to preserve the historic place along Vito Cruz in Manila.
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chair Butch Ramirez said the government instead intended to rehabilitate the 83-year-old sports complex, which is a repository of the sporting achievements of the country.
Ramirez said he consulted different groups like the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, National Historical Commission of the Philippines and Heritage Conservation Society-International Council for Monuments and Sites and the athletes before he came up with the decision to end negotiations.
In 2010, when news broke out that RMSC, built in 1934, would be sold and transferred to the sprawling former Clark Air Base in Pampanga, a loud cry of protest echoed from the preservationists.
It resurfaced last year when the City of Manila claimed rights to the 10- hectare property donated by the Vito Cruz family. Mayor Joseph Estrada said tycoon Enrique Razon had expressed interest to buy the whole complex and develop it into a state-of-the-art sports, recreational and business center.
Based on the zonal valuation of the sports complex, the selling price would be about P5 billion, which the PSC claimed is not correct.
Ramirez said it’s not about the price but preserving Rizal Memorial—its history, passion, spirit are priceless. The PSC chair said they would rehabilitate it in the first quarter of 2018.
Let us hope that the decision of the PSC under the Duterte administration to suspend the sale of the historic sports complex is permanent and will not be rekindled by the next administration.
Removing RMSC would mean desecrating and obliterating a huge portion of Philippine sports history.
Destruction of one of the most important pillars and foundations in the country is not the solution for what ails Philippine sport.
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