Much ado about RMSC
The issue about the historic Rizal Memorial Sports Complex (RMSC) has resurfaced after the Razon Group divulged their plan to redevelop and revitalize the 82-year-old complex.
As if on cue, the House Committee on Youth and Sports chair Rep. Conrad Estrella and sub-committee chair Rep. Mikee Romero approved last week the establishment of a national sports training center in Clark, Pampanga.
The bill, known as the National Amateur Sports Training Center Act, aims to provide our national athletes a state-of-the-art training center within the Clark Special Economic Zone.
This center has been proposed a number of times in the past but was never approved.
In 2014, former Pampanga Rep. Yeng Guiao led an ocular inspection team in the economic zone where the training center was to be constructed. The plan hit a snag due to high rental cost.
It was reported that the Clark International Airport Corp., which owns the 50-hectare property, wanted P7.5 million a year for 10 years.
Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco envisioned this training center shortly after he assumed the presidency for the first time in 2004.
He wants to transfer the training center of our national athletes from RMSC to Clark or Tanay in Rizal. According to Cojuangco, the funds for the construction of the center will come from the lease or sale of the RMSC.
Under the plan, the Razon Group headed by business tycoon Enrique Razon will preserve the façade of the RMSC as well as the Rizal Memorial Coliseum and the Rizal Baseball Stadium, where baseball greats Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth played in 1934 and was the site of The Beatles concert in 1966.
However, the proposal is being opposed by the Heritage Conservation Society (HCS), the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), Sen. Manny Pacquiao and PSC chair William “Butch” Ramirez.
Ramirez said the PSC has no immediate plans of moving out and wants to rehabilitate some sports facilities, including the athletes’ quarters.
Under the agreement, as long as the government sports agency is occupying the RMSC, the plan of the Razon Group to build a building that will house modern offices, commercial areas, green open spaces and a sports museum cannot be implemented .
There is also another problem the Razon Group has to resolve: The family which donated the land has a condition that it would be used only for a sports stadium.
With these developments, it looks like the fate of the RMSC will follow the same route as previous proposals.