P3.5-B sports center to rise in Sarangani, Pacquiao says

Provincial capitol of Sarangani. Photo from Sarangani FB page

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/5 March) – President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the construction of a state-of-the-art sports center, with indoor training facilities, in nearby Alabel, Sarangani estimated to cost at least P3.5 billion.

Senator Emmanuel “Pacman” Pacquiao on Tuesday thanked Duterte for approving Republic Act 11224 establishing the Philippine Sports Training Center in Sarangani province.

The country currently lacks indoor sports facilities where athletes can train whole year round, especially during inclement weather, said Pacquiao, the only boxer to win world titles in eight weight divisions.

“As athletes, they strictly follow their training schedule. But sometimes, this is hampered by the onset of rainy season or extreme heat, among others. With the construction of an indoor sports training center, athletes particularly those involved in outdoor sports can train even during noontime or rainy season,” Pacquiao said in a statement.

To recall, Pacquiao, chair of the Senate committee on sports, filed Senate Bill (SB) 1712 on February 27, 2018 seeking the creation of Sarangani Sports Training Center.

On October 8, 2018, the Senate approved on third reading the final version of the bill indexed as SB No. 1716 with Pacquiao as main author and Sen. Sonny Angara as co-sponsor.

SB No. 1716 was approved with 18 affirmative votes, no negative votes and zero abstention.

Duterte signed RA 11224, otherwise known as Philippine Sports Training Center Act, last February 22 but a copy of which was released to the media only on March 2.

“This is a big boost not only for our national sports but also for my home province where this facility will be established,” Pacquiao said.

Under RA 11224, the provincial government of Sarangani and municipal government of Alabel, in coordination with the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), were mandated to take the necessary steps to upgrade, improve, and modernize existing facilities, equipment and personnel and integrate them into the newly created sports training center.

The law also stated that “the provincial government of Sarangani and the municipal government of Alabel, in coordination with the PSC, shall create the necessary training programs, appropriate tournaments, and competition, as well as the system by which the facilities shall be maintained and managed in order to accomplish the objectives and purpose of this Act.”

Funds for the construction, establishment and operation of the Sarangani Sports Training Center will primarily be provided by the local government units with support coming from the PSC and the Office of the President.

Based on the original project proposal, the sports training facility will be constructed on an eight-hectare government property.

This will be equipped, among others, with an Olympic-sized swimming pool, Olympic-standard indoor and outdoor rubberized track oval, international-standard basketball court, well-equipped gym for contact sports and separate dormitories for male and female athletes. (Bong S. Sarmiento/MindaNews)