Iloilo City government is eyeing a P500-million loan either with the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) or the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) to finance the construction of the Iloilo City Sports Arena.
|Iloilo City is eyeing to put up P500-M arena inside Lapaz Plaza. Photo by Mark Maranga.|
During Monday’s regular session of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP), the local council passed a resolution authorizing Mayor Jose S. Espinosa III to “negotiate on behalf of the city government” for the proposed loan agreement.
Espinosa, in his letter to the council, said the city government is “most-likely co-host with the province of Iloilo when national sports events are being held yearly”. These include the Batang Pinoy, Palarong Pambansa, Unigames and National Open.
He, however, said it is “unfortunate” that this city lacks basketball and volleyball courts that can pass the requirement for hosting a national tournament.
The lack of these facilities “limits the discovery of local aspiring athletes for amateur and professional level likewise to host games of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines, National Collegiate Athletic Association, and Super Liga.
“As a sportsman, I believe we owe it to our youth to give them the best sports facility that we can offer,” he said.
The mayor envisioned a 5,000-seat arena that can be offered to international games such as the Southeast Asian Games and Asian Games.
The project has been included in the 2017 to 2019 Annual Development Plan of the city government and approved by the Iloilo City Local Development Council.
Meanwhile, Councilor Plaridel Nava, in expressing support to the resolution, said the project “is long overdue”.
“This deserves support from all sectors considering that this will be a state-of-the-art. I think we have to let the people know that this is something that we can be proud of,” he said.
He said the Philippine Olympic Committee and the FIBA in the Philippines have submitted biddings to the FIBA International for the hosting of the World Championship in 2023.
There is a good chance, he said, for the Philippines to win the bidding.
If the Philippines wins, then it has to select at least four cities to host the bracket games, he added.
“Iloilo City will be a potential host for any bracket,” he added.
Majority Floor Leader Eduardo Peñaredondo said the arena maybe constructed at the La Paz plaza. (By Perla Lena, PNA)