Prime Clark areas venues for sports training center

CLARK FREEPORT -- The Technical Working Group (TWG) of the House of Representatives youth and sports committee agreed Monday that the Clark airport aviation complex and the Clark Green City (CGC) will be the next venues of the National Training Center.

Representative Joseller "Yeng" Guiao (Pampanga, 1st district), vice-chair of the youth and sports committee, said that this decision will be recommended to the committee.

The TWG, composed of officials from the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA), Clark Development Corporation (CDC), Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Philippine Olympics Committee (POC) and Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC), made an ocular inspection at the Clark airport and Sacobia Valley Monday morning.

After the inspection, the proponents -- CIAC and BCDA -- presented their respective proposals manifesting their intention to host the country's new training center.

CIAC is offering a total of 50 hectares at the north-eastern side of the existing Clark airport double runway. The BCDA on the other hand has allotted some 34 hectares for the sports facility.

POC president Peping Cojuangco said that the Clark aviation complex will be an ideal site for the new training center.

At the same time, he said that the Clark Green City may be utilized as expansion area for the sports and training centers.

"I will propose that we have both, one in immediate and the other one in the long range. If you look at the future, if you do something like this, it will be very advantageous to the country," Cojuangco said.

Once the project is realized, the performance of athletes in international competition will improve, he said.

PSC Chair Ricardo "Richie" Garcia and CIAC president Emigdio Tanjuatco, Jr. and other officials present during the meeting shared Cojuangco's suggestions and recommendations.

"In any development, it is always nice to have a sports component in residential and industrial areas [like Clark Green City]," Garcia said.

Guiao said there is an urgency to transfer the National Training Center (Rizal Memorial Coliseum) because its location in Manila makes it prone to flooding, pollution and traffic congestion.

Some P3.5-billion will be spent for the construction of the new sports facility at Clark, said Guiao.

The lawmaker asked CIAC to secure the property immediately even while the bill is still up for approval.

He said the people of Pampanga are happy to host the training center.

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