Preserve RMSC’s rich heritage | Inquirer Sports
Inside Sports

Preserve RMSC’s rich heritage

/ 12:45 PM September 19, 2011

The obsession with selling the historic Rizal Memorial Sports Complex has surfaced once again, with Philippine Sports Commission chair Richie Garcia claiming that talks with Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr. look positive.
While Garcia believes he has full control over the RMSC and other government sports facilities, it does not mean that he is vested with the right to sell the complex which, in fact, sits on property owned by the City of Manila.
Even the idea of a 50-50 split of the revenue generated by the projected sale is open to question since control does not translate into ownership and the right to share in the income from the disposal of the property.
The estimated revenue from the sale has been loosely estimated at about P5 billion. Given the history of our government sports agencies in terms of profligacy and failure to liquidate huge sums of money advanced for construction and other specific projects in the past, we shudder to think about what could happen.
Garcia says its time to get out of the RMSC, which sports officials feel is far from ideal as a site for training our athletes because of the pollution and distractions in the area.
The answer to that is not to run away but rather to clean up the surrounding areas, relocate the squatters and put some order into traffic while making sure that the tricycles, pedicabs and jeepneys which are a source of pollution, noise and dirt are made to follow rules and regulations.
Mayor Lim is known as an enforcer and there’s no doubt that if he needs to, he will.
While there is nothing intrinsically objectionable to the idea of Cojuangco to relocate the athletes to a new training facility in Clark Field in Pampanga and to construct a separate training center in Santa Cruz, Laguna, it would seem far more logical to rehabilitate and expand the facilities at the Gintong Alay training center in Baguio City. This would be ideal for our athletes to train, especially because of the climate as well as the high altitude. This is why the greatest sports icon of our time, Manny Pacquiao, trains in the summer capital.
The government has had a rather questionable history in its inordinate hurry to sell the properties we own here and abroad, which doesn’t inspire confidence. These properties are owned by the people, and the government is essentially the caretaker.
Beyond all else is the fact that the RMSC is a sports complex with a storied history and a rich heritage. One has only to remember the times when the late Gabriel “Flash” Elorde, Rolando Navarette and Roberto Cruz defended their world titles at the RMSC, or walk along the perimeter wall of the ballpark and recall the home runs hammered above and beyond in 1934 by such greats as Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.
Who could ever forget the lissome lass Lydia de Vega as she thundered down the straight to win the 100- and 200-meter gold medals in the 1981 Southeast Asian Games and to reach new heights of human excellence as the “Sprint Queen of Asia.”
The memories surge forward in a flood, which again underscores our failure in various facets of national life to remember the glorious past and to preserve historic moments as well as sites that essentially reflect the character of our nation and people and do justice to our achievements.

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TAGS: Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr., Philippine Olympic Committee, Philippine Sports Commission, Philippines, POC, PSC, Richie Garcia, Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, Sports

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