MANILA, Aug. 2— The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) on Wednesday decided to keep the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, a way of honoring the blood and thirst of countless Filipino sports heroes who were trained and played there, and to preserve its historical value.
“PSC will keep and rehabilitate the Rizal Sports Complex,” said PSC executive director Carlo Abarquez in a radio interview conducted by Radyo Pilipinas (Sports Radio) during its regular weekly “PSC Hour.”
Abarquez emphasized that in the first year of this administration, plans to rehabilitate the historic sports facility has been stalled due to the “legal battle” between the City Government of Manila and PSC, a government sports body created under Republic Act 6847 as the national lead agency in sports development.
The senior PSC official explained that based on records, the city government of Manila is the legal owner of the lot. However, under the mandate of PSC, the government sports body has management, supervision and control of all existing sports facility in the said area.
The issue sparked when former president and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada plans to sell the sports facility and turn it into a commercial district.
Abarquez revealed that Manila has offered PSC the sum of PHP3.5 billion in exchange for the place.
However, the PSC official, and basing from an expert valuation group, it was discovered that the estimated total value was PHP15 billion for the lot and all the properties inside the said complex.
By keeping the historic place, immediate plans to rehabilitate and build state-of-the-art sports facilities.
On top are athletes quarters and specially designed mess halls. Others include the rehabilitation of the Rizal track and field oval and stadium.
Back in the 1920s, the original facilities include — baseball and basketball stadia, track oval and swimming pool.
In the 20s, American baseball legend, Babe Ruth, was among those who played in the complex. Years, countless sports conclaves used the site which include hosting of Southeast Asian Games (SEAG 1981, 1991 and 2005).
In 1981 games — Palaro produced trackster and Gintong Alay athletes — Lydia de Vega (Mercado), one of our greatest athlete of all time-once dubbed “Asia’s Sprint Queen” in the 80s; Elma Muros-Posadas, once “Iron Lady” in the Asean region begun their athletic heights at the Rizal Complex, among others. (Primo P. Agatep/PNA)