SENATOR Juan Edgardo Angara urged on Monday his colleagues to pass the bill seeking to create and establish a "state-of-the-art and highly scientific" sports complex to be called the Philippine Amateur Sports Training Center.
Angara, chairman of the Senate committee on games, amusement, and sports, said 800 national athletes and 300 coaches will have a "new, decent and a much-needed" home and venue for training that is at par with international standards if the national sports training institution is created.
Aside from the training of athletes and coaches, Angara said the training center will also be tasked to contribute to sports center and research development.
"While we are requiring our national athlete to excel in competitions and bring honor to the country, they should also be adequately supported," he said.
"A training center that is furnished with state-of-the-art training equipment, technology, facilities, and modern amenities will definitely result to our athlete's better performance in the Olympics and other national and international competition," he added.
Angara said the state of sports development in the country has been neglected for the past years, as shown by dated and rundown sports facilities like Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila built 86 years ago and the 40-year-old Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
Primarily, the senator said the problem besetting sports sector is funding, which explains the state of sports facilities.
The Philippine Sports Commission's (PSC) P750 million annual budget from Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation and the national government pales in comparison to Thailand's equivalent budget of P13 billion, Singapore's P6.5 billion, and Indonesia and Malaysia at P4 billion each.
"PSC's budget is only enough to sustain its operations and programs. No amount is allocated for establishing new structures, not even for repairs. In fact, in 2013, the much-needed rehabilitation of the Rizal Memorial amounting to P14 million came from PSC's savings," he said.
Under Senate Bill 2371, the ownership, administration, management, operation, and maintenance of the center are vested to the PSC.
Angara said P2-billion will be allocated for the construction of the Philippine Amateur Sports Training Center while the P55-million will be appropriated to finance its maintenance, operation, and management.
"This bill, taken together with the other measures addressing sports advancement, shall provide an integrated grassroots to elite sports development platform intended to provide our athletes a long-term and sustainable state support to perform well in international tournaments and represent our country with pride and honor," Angara said.
"This is truly an investment of belief and confidence in Filipino athletes as they carry the torch for our country in international tournaments," he added. (Sunnex)