by Nick Giongco
The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) leadership has assured the national athletes that their impending relocation will be handled properly by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
POC president Ricky Vargas guaranteed bemedalled triathlete Nikko Huelgas, head of the POC’s Athletes’ Commission, that PSC chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez will lend a helping hand as the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex and the Philsports in Pasig are set to undergo masisve repairs.
“He also assured that the PSC would assist athletes in looking for temporary lodgings and would shoulder the expenses to be incurred. He, however, pointed out that NSAs were duty-bound to help in this effort,” said Vargas in a letter addressed to Huelgas.
Huelgas had reached out to Vargas amid fears that national athletes will have to fend for themselves with the RMSC and Philsports in Pasig and the Baguio City facilities are about to start undergoing rehabilitation.
The upgrading of the facilities is in line with the country’s hosting of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
The POC inner circle met with its PSC counterparts last Dec. 4 and the PO team was made up of Vargas, POC secretary-general Patrick Gregorio, Communications Director Ed Picson, General Manager Art Aro and Membership Committee chief Robert Bachmann.
Ramirez led the way for the PSC alongside commissioners Celia Kiram, Charles Maxey and Arnold Agustin, Executive Director Merly Ibay, deputies Guillermo Iroy and Dennis Rivera and NSA Affairs head Annie Ruiz.
“Chairman Ramirez clarified that this plan had been in the pipeline for two years and it is only now that they are successfully able to bid it out,” said Vargas.
“He informed us that the PSC was able to get a budget of R50M from the DPWH for the project and it had to be utilized by 2019, otherwise the money would be returned to the National Treasury.”
With the welfare of the athletes in mind, Ramirez told Vargas that “the repairs and constructions would be fast-tracked.”