MANILA – Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman William Ramirez on Monday said renovation of the sports facilities inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex (RMSC) will be finished 10 days before the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
Ramirez said the assurance was made by the contractors of the six major facilities that will be used for the SEA Games which the country will host for the fourth time from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 this year.
He said the Rizal Memorial Coliseum, which underwent major rehabilitation for the first since 1953, will be finished by Nov. 14 while the Ninoy Aquino Stadium, Tennis Center and football stadium will be ready by Nov. 21.
“I’m excited to see these (renovated) sports facilities,” Ramirez said after members of the media visited the ongoing renovation of the sports facilities.
Architect Gerard Lico said the rehabilitation of the 85-year-old Rizal Memorial Coliseum is already at 85 percent, assuring that retrofitting, installation of air-conditioning, lights, new chairs, and other new features will be done before the Nov. 13 turnover to the PSC.
Lico said at least 250 workers are rushing to finish the renovation but assured that safety and quality of the arena will not be compromised.
“All materials we used are imported and we made sure that the historical design of the building are protected,” Lico said.
In 2017, the National Museum and National Historical Commission of the Philippines declared the RMSC as important cultural property and national historical landmark.
The coliseum will host the gymnastics while weightlifting and taekwondo will be played at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
PSC Commissioner Charles Reymond Maxey said the renovation of the sports facilities was made possible after the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) donated PHP842 million to the PSC.
“When the assistance from Pagcor came, we decided to rehabilitate these facilities. It’s been a long time that our historic facilities here have not been renovated. So, it’s just timely,” Maxey said.
“In fact, as (PSC) chairman, we did not implement this rehabilitation for the SEA Games,” he added.
PSC Commissioner Celia Kiram explained that Pagcor voluntarily gave the PHP842 million after learning that sports facilities both at the RMSC and Philsports in Pasig City need a major overhaul.
“When they learned the present condition of our sports facilities, they offered to help,” she said. (PNA)