Suspicious plans and propositions
Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada announced the plan to convert the 11-hectare site of the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex (RMSC) into a commercial center, consisting of a mall and cinemas, among other features. The project will be a joint venture of the city government with businessman-developer Ricky Razon. Start of the project is programmed for this year; it will take years to complete.
This only means that the RMSC will be sold at the expense of sports. The nearest to an athletic field in Metro Manila is the Green Valley Sports Center along E. Rodriguez Jr. Avenue in Pasig City. This is utterly inadequate compared to the RMSC where various sports activities can be done, such as swimming, tennis, gymnastics, baseball, volleyball, softball, soccer, track and field events, etc., all at the same time. Foremost, it is the ideal training ground for our athletes preparing for foreign sports competitions (e.g., SEAG, Asiad, and the Olympics).
The RMSC is also the venue where our athletes and sports teams compete with other local and visiting teams from overseas.
Twice, in the recent past, Philippine Olympic Committee chair Jose Cojuangco Jr. expressed his plan to sell the RMSC for the same reason given by Estrada.
It is quite evident that Estrada and Cojuangco are relegating sports to the back burner and are more interested in the proliferation of commercial centers that have been sprouting like mushrooms all over Metro Manila for some years now.
Even with the completion of the Clark Sports Complex, maintaining the RMSC in the National Capital Region, specifically in Manila, will be beneficial for athletics in our country. The establishment of more commercial centers should be focused outside the National Capital Region if our leaders are serious about countrywide development. Undue attention to commercialization, at the expense of athletics, invites doubts about the proponents’ real motives.
APOLONIO G. RAMOS, Mindanao Street, Marikina City
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.