MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/13 December) – An amount of P250 million from the 2018 funds of Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri has been allotted for the construction of a provincial sports complex in Bukidnon, Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr. said.
Gov. Zubiri made the announcement to members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan during their regular session on December 12. He said they are still choosing from two sites, one each in Malaybalay and Valencia cities.
The provincial government would need at least P500 million to build a standard sports complex, so the provincial government will allot another P250 million in its budget next year, he said.
He said land acquisition alone, which could be achieved next year, is estimated at P150 million at P1 million per hectare for 15 hectares.
“Finally, we’ve been dreaming about that,” said Maite Abellanosa, head of the tourism cluster of the Bukidnon Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. Her group had organized sports events in the past.
She said the sports complex should be in Malaybalay because it is home to world-class athletes who have performed well in international competitions.
“This is going to be the biggest step that the province can make in terms of its war on drugs and alcoholism. The community needs a place wherein they can work out, run, swim and even take boxing lessons,” she said.
She added [building the complex] will enable the city to get rid of its reputation as the home of many alcoholics.
Kenneth Amiel M. Taylor, a sports coach and triathlete, said it will hopefully become a reality so that Bukidnon can compete well in national events.
“We can’t compete due to lack of sports facilities. The sports complex will level the playing field,” he said, adding it is also good for the health of the citizens.
Taylor said Bukidnon is probably the only province in Northern Mindanao without a sports complex.
Albert Celebran, sports coordinator of Bukidnon State University, said it is important to have a sports complex.
“This is one way to develop athletes, sportsmanship and discipline for everyone,” he said.
Former television reporter Roy Perfuma, a graduate student, said the sports complex will be a big boost for the province to host national sporting events.
“This can serve as show window of the of the province’s unprecedented growth over the years,” he added.
But he added that there are other equally important projects like concreting of road networks, repair of bridges that connect to farm to market roads and construction of more classrooms.
This is not the first time a plan to build Bukidnon’s sports complex was announced. In December 2008, it was also announced in the SP that P150 million has been earmarked for the project from the President’s Social Fund of then president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Board member Oliver Owen Garcia mentioned the funding then when he expounded on the city government of Valencia’s plan to donate a lot to the provincial government for the sports complex.
He said they are willing to enter into an agreement with the provincial government over an eight-hectare lot in Barangay Bagontaas, Valencia which was offered as site for the facility.
Back in 2008, the provincial legislators deliberated on whether it would be proper to arrange for a donation or usufruct scheme renewable for 25 years.
Garcia told MindaNews on December 12 that the project did not push through.
Another source said a site in Barangay Laguitas, Malaybalay has been considered, too.
In 2010, the SP passed a resolution urging the Philippine Sports Commission to consider Bukidnon as host of the 2011 Palarong Pambansa, as the province will soon construct an “ultra modern sports complex.”
Then Board member Nemesio Beltran Jr., who sponsored the resolution, said the sports complex would be built on an eight-hectare area in Valencia.
Officials said then that the city government of Valencia offered a site in Bagontaas to ensure that the complex would be built in that city. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)