Finally, a modern sports complex

Marianne L. Saberon-Abalayan

A HIGHLY-URBANIZED city like Davao City has long been devoid of a sports complex that a remote province like Lanao del Norte boasts of.

While the rest of the country ever wonder how Davao City athletes can still excel in various sports without the facilities that they need and dream of, the waiting is almost over as construction works are ongoing for the Davao City-University of the Philippines (UP) Sports Complex in Mintal.

This early, the Davao City Government, according to Sports Development Division of the City Mayor's Office (SDD-CMO) officer-in-charge Mikey Aportadera, is preparing for its hosting bid of the 2019 Palarong Pambansa.

Aportadera, during the inauguration of the Davao City-UP Sports Complex Multi-Purpose Human Kinetics Building (training gym) and groundbreaking of the Phase 2 of the football stadium, civil works of the football field and track oval and aquatics center last month, said Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, herself, is upbeat about the construction works since it will help equip the city's Palaro hosting bid.

Then Davao City mayor now President Rodrigo Duterte, former Davao City third district representative Isidro Ungab and former SDD-CMO chief and now Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William Ramirez pushed for the sports complex to be built and found a partner in UP, then led by its president Alfredo Pascual, that donated the lot for it.

Ungab sourced the funds for the sports complex during his term while he was chairperson of the appropriations committee of the House of Representatives.

During the last groundbreaking of other facilities in the sports complex when Mayor Duterte was present, Ungab recalled, "He (Duterte) asked, ‘Sid pila gibutang nimo diri (How much did you put into this?)’ and I answered, ‘P450 million, Mayor.’ That was in 2015, I remember telling him too that we only lacked the budget for the Olympic-sized swimming pool but he told me he and Butch (Ramirez) will take care of it. But in the 2016 budget, nasama ko na lahat because of the amendments made in the Senate. I hope and pray when the sports complex is finished, we will invite President Duterte to come over."

Ungab, who also graced the recent inauguration of the training gym, also said in a past interview:

"Kaluoy sa Ginoo ang atong damgo ug atong pagpursige niini ma-realize najud (It's by the grace of God that our dream of having our own sports complex will soon be realized and all our hard work to make this happen will pay off). We have been dreaming of this since 1996."

Ramirez, for his part, said the sports complex can make the city a sports Mecca in Mindanao, adding that he is committed to support the sports complex as well as in educating athletes and coaches through the Philippine Sports Institute (PSI).

"The children will benefit greatly from this," Ramirez said.

Vision

The state-of-the-art sports facility is envisioned to cater local, national and international sporting events that can improve peace and development through friendly multi-sports competitions, tribal sports competitions where indigenous groups can have a chance to showcase their games, training of high-performance athletes of national teams, wellness programs for various government agencies and the private sector, and be a center for education in sports development.

Football Stadium Phase 2

The contractor of the P50 million football stadium Phase 2 is Bislig Venture and Construction, Incorporated. It is funded by the 2016 General Appropriations Act of the Second District Engineering Office of the Department of Public Works and Highways under sits Local Infrastructure Program.

The stadium, when completed, shall have a 30,000-seating capacity which is a minimum requirement of Fifa, the world governing body of football.

The overall design concept of the completed stadium shall display the "Olew," a simple turban worn by T'boli men.

The Phase 2 shall connect to the football stadium Phase 1 that is being constructed by Lotrim Builders.

Aquatics Center Phase 1

The P80 million first phase of the aquatics center is one of the components to be funded by the P150 million construction of the sports complex building from the 2016 GA of the UP System. Its design shall feature the cultural and economic significance of water in Mindanao and its form from the iconic boathouse of the Sama tribe or Badjaos\

Designers also took a T'nalak pattern, "Bwengkel" that means crocodile.

Phase 1 will cover the 50-meter olympic-sized swimming pool with a portion for bleachers.

However, more funds will be needed in 2018 to complete the aquatics center that shall also include a 25-meter warm-up pool and 20-feet diving pool, a standard set by Fina, world's governing body for aquatic sports.

Football Field/Track Oval Civil Works

A budget of P50 million from the 2015 GA Act of the UP System will be spent for the preparatory work for the installation of a football field with a Fifa-accredited artificial turf and a synthetic running track oval.

Algon Engineering is contractor of the civil works.

The sports complex, slowly but surely, is taking shape and will be the fulfillment of every Dabawenyo athlete's dream.