South Cotabato eyes hosting national, int’l sports events

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/11 February) — The provincial government of South Cotabato is setting its sights on possibly hosting national and even international sports events in the next few years with the planned upgrading of the province’s sports facilities.

South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes said Tuesday the initial studies are underway to determine the necessary modifications and developments that would improve the quality of the existing facilities at the South Cotabato Sports Complex in Koronadal City.

She said they are aiming to elevate local sports facilities to the international standards and make them at par with those in Metro Manila and other major cities.

“It’s our ultimate dream to attract and host major international sporting events in the future like the Asian Games,” the governor said in a radio interview.

The South Cotabato Sports Complex, which is the main venue of the 2014 Region 12 or Soccsksargen Regional Athletic Association Meet that opened on Monday, is considered among the best and most modern sports venues in the region.

Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

The sports complex hosts a rubberized standard track oval; tennis, basketball, volleyball and sepak takraw courts; baseball and football fields; and, an Olympic-size swimming pool.

Adjacent to it is a 5,000-capacity air-conditioned gymnasium for various indoor games.

But Fuentes said the complex already needs some major improvements, among them the replacement of the rubberized track oval.

“We need around P30 million for a new rubberized track and we’re targeting to accomplish within this year,” she said.

Aside from the upgrading of the South Cotabato Sports Complex, the governor said they are working on another plan to develop the sports complex in Surallah.

She said they are initially planning to install a rubberized track at the facility, which is being eyed as an alternate venue for major sporting events that would be hosted by the province.

“Once we put in place all these improvements, we will immediately bid for the hosting of major sporting events, starting with the Palarong Pambansa,” Fuentes said.

Two years ago, the city government of Koronadal officially filed a bid with the Department of Education for the hosting of the Palarong Pambansa in 2015.

South Cotabato province and Koronadal City hosted the Palarong Pambansa in 1996 and 2007 and was among the main playing venues of the now defunct Palaro ng Bayan in 2000.

The South Cotabato Sports Complex served as one of the main venues of the 7th Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area or BIMP-EAGA Friendship Games that was co-hosted by the province along with Sarangani and this city. (MindaNews)