Senator Sonny Angara is pushing for the construction of a “state-of-the-art” and “highly scientific sports complex” to be called the Philippine Amateur Sports Training Center to ensure high-level training and total wellness for national athletes.
“While we are requiring our national athletes to excel in competitions and bring honor to the country, they should also be adequately supported,” Angara, chair of the Senate committee on games, amusement and sports, said in a statement on Monday.
“A training center that is furnished with state-of-the-art training equipment, technology, facilities and modern amenities will definitely result to our athlete’s better performance in the Olympics and other national and international competitions,” he said.
The senator said sports development in the country had been neglected for the past years as shown by dated and rundown sports facilities such as the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, which was built 86 years ago, and the Philsports Arena, which is now 40 years old.
“Primarily, the problem besetting our sports sector is funding, which explains the state of our sports facilities,” he said.
Angara pointed out that the Philippine Sports Commission’s (PSC) P750-million annual budget from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) and the national government pales in comparison to Thailand’s equivalent budget of P13 billion, Singapore’s P6.5 billion, and Indonesia and Malaysia’s P4 billion funding.
“PSC’s budget is only enough to sustain its operations and programs. No amount is allocated for establishing new structures, not even for repairs,” he said.
“In fact, in 2013, the much-needed rehabilitation of the Rizal Memorial amounting to P14 million came from PSC’s savings,” he further said.
Decent home for athletes
By creating and establishing the Philippine Amateur Sports Training Center, Angara said, the country’s 800 athletes and 300 coaches will have a new decent and a much-needed home and venue for elite training that is at par with international standards.
Aside from the training of athletes and coaches, the national sports training institution is also tasked to contribute to sports science and research development.
The senator then proposed in Senate Bill No. 2371 that the ownership, administration, management, operation and maintenance of the center should be vested on the PSC.
The bill provides a P2-billion allocation for the construction of the center and another P55 million for its maintenance, operation and management.
The center, under the proposed measure, will be exempt from payment of all taxes, fees, assessments and other charges of the government.
“This bill taken together with the other measures addressing sports advancement shall provide an integrated grassroots to elite sports development platform intended to provide our athletes a long-term and sustainable state support to perform well in international tournaments and represent our country with pride and honor,” Angara said.
“This is truly an investment of belief and confidence in Filipino athletes as they carry the torch for our country in international tournaments,” the senator added.