MANILA, March 27, 2004  (STAR) By Joey Villar - The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) will start major renovation of government-owned sports facilities designated by the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Philsoc) as venues to the 23rd edition of the biennial meet the country is hosting next year.

PSC chairman Eric Buhain yesterday said Malacañang was already informed of the Philsoc choices and would start their repair and renovations as soon as they receive budgetary support from the government.

"The letter of Mr. (Celso) Dayrit designating these facilities as venues has already been forwarded to President Arroyo for whatever financial assistance will be needed for the purpose," said Buhain in the weekly SCOOP session at the Kamayan in Padre Faura.

Among the venues to be refurbished are the track and field oval, which had already undergone repair in the middle of last year after it hosted an international event, swimming pool, badminton center, the Ninoy Aquino Stadium and other areas in the complex.

The agency will also do renovation work on the Amoranto Velodrome in Quezon City and the Philsports Arena in Pasig City–where cycling and women’s football are set to be staged, respectively.

Dayrit, who also heads the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and the fencing association, announced that the Philsoc intends to hold the mandatory sports athletics and swimming, baseball, gymnastics and wrestling at the old complex–home to the 1981 and 1991 editions of the Games.

Muay, a martial which originated from Thailand, might be held at the Rizal’s badminton center if it would make in the calendar of events before October.

Reports have it that the PSC will need an estimated amount of P300 to P400 million for the renovation and repair of these venues.

The agency may also push for the construction of an aquatic center inside the old Rizal since its swimming pool had seen better days and below international standard.

This means the PSC will need another P100 million for the construction of the aquatic center reportedly at the reclamation area near the Manila Bay.

The National Capital Region (NCR) has been tapped as the main hub of the 2005 SEAG, with major events to be staged in Manila, Quezon City, Pasig, Parañaque, Pasay and Makati.

Bacolod City has already been identified as the Games’ satellite hub with Subic Bay and Cavite as the other provincial venues. Cebu City, for its part, hopes it could host at least five disciplines of the Games.

Meanwhile, Buhain also announced the revival of the "Create a Sports Hero" project, which gives financial incentives under Rep. Act 9064 to medal winners of the SEAG, the Asian Games and the Olympics, set this August in Athens, Greece.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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