UniversityNo plans of acquiring Rizal Stadium
No plans of acquiring Rizal Stadium
July 10, 2013
July 10, 2013

univ7

The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) has recently announced that the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex (RMSC) will be up for sale, as soon as Mayor-elect Joseph ‘Erap’ Estrada assumes office.

Ayala Land, Henry Sy’s SM Group of Companies, Lucio Tan Group, San Miguel Corporation, and De La Salle University-Manila have reportedly shown interest in seeking ownership of the facility, which has a present estimated zonal value of P5-10 billion.

Once the RMSC is sold, the proceeds shall be used to build a new training facility either in Clark or in the province of Rizal.

Online articles published by Interaksyon, Manila Standard Today and Sports Interactive Network Philippines have stated that DLSU has been aggressive in showing its interest in acquiring the complex. Meanwhile, DLSU President and Chancellor Br. Ricky Laguda FSC has denied such statements.

“It is all speculative,” he says, further clarifying that the University has no intention of buying the complex.

He adds, “In any public bidding, the terms of reference are also made public. There is none. Therefore, there is no bidding to speak of in the first place.”

 

The RMSC

The 10-hectare sports complex, where majority of the national athletes train, was built in 1934 after the Vito Cruz Family donated it to the City Government of Manila. It was formerly known as Manila Carnival Grounds and was one of the first major sports facilities in Asia.

While the Philippine government claims rights over the land, the structures that occupy the land belong to the PSC. Thus, both parties would have to divide the revenue equally once the property is sold.

The complex houses the administrative office of the PSC, and the quarter for the Philippine National Athletes. The centerpiece of the sports complex is the National Stadium which has a maximum seating capacity of 30,000.

The RMSC has undergone major renovations throughout the years for major events such as the 1953 and 2011 Asian Games. DLSU has been known to participate in and contribute to numerous events that are held at the complex, since its sports teams use the facility to train.

 

Reason for selling

Last March 2012, the RMSC Football Stadium was the venue for the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers, an international football competition for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). Heavy rains poured during the game between Philippines and Cambodia eventually resulting to floods throughout the field.

This incident drew criticism and comments from the players and audience, triggering the revival of the proposal to sell the RMSC.

According to PSC chairman Ricardo Garcia, the earlier discussions with outgoing Mayor Alfredo Lim regarding the proposal did not amount to much. However, the proposal may now be raised to incumbent Mayor Erap Estrada.

Meanwhile, after winning the congressional seat in Pampanga, Congressman-elect Yeng Guiao insisted on the creation of a national stadium in Clark, Angeles City as a replacement to RMSC.

Guiao believes that Clark is the next most accessible place after Manila, and also boasts more available space for the construction of the new sports complex. “Having a complex in Clark may improve the athletic ventures of the country as well as the chances of hosting more sports events in the Philippines while attracting more tourists and foreign players to visit,” he says.

 

A home field

Inside the University, the Enrique M. Razon Sports Complex provides training areas for all indoor sports, but not to the needs of all outdoor sports.

The teams may travel to get to other training facilities in partner institutions or use the nearby RMSC. Since the University shouldered the field’s rehabilitation, the PSC has granted DLSU  teams usage free of charge. However, it is unavoidable that the teams deal with several other restrictions.

“We are [pressured] because we have to finish at a certain time,” shares Jeoffrey Chua, coach of DLSU’s Athletics and Track and Field Team.

Meanwhile, whenever the Philippine Football Federation hosts events, the DLSU football team cannot use the field and needs to travel to De La Salle-Zobel to train.

DLSU football player Chuck Uy (II, BS-CPE) believes that there are advantages in purchasing the complex. For the football team, it would mean a constant training facility and home field. Uy is hopeful that an improvement in several teams’ performance may be seen through this. Chua agrees that having a home field could foster a better training atmosphere.

Student athletes who train at RMSC also consider exclusivity as an important factor as opposed to the sports complex which is open to the public. Furthermore, it would encourage more Lasallians to learn about and support other sports apart from the usual favorites, basketball and volleyball.

Although speculations have sparked debates on whether or not the purchase of the complex would be beneficial to the University or if the University should purchase it at all, Chua says that only the administration has the prerogative to decide.

He assures that regardless of what happens, teams will still continue on their routine and bring pride to the University. “We are happy that we are here everyday. That’s good enough,” he says.