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Ex-MMDA chair pushes for regional sports academy

(The Philippine Star) - February 3, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Former Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino yesterday warned government that the Filipino youth would soon lose opportunities to excel in sports due to the shrinking size of open spaces available to them.

Tolentino said he has long been in support of plans to decongest Metro Manila and spread development to the provinces and cities with potential to become new business hubs.

This, he said, would level opportunities long made available to Metro Manila residents while raising the income levels of people living in the provinces and small cities outside of the metropolis.”I am also proposing the establishment of provincial and regional sports academy that will offer holistic sports development among the youth,” Tolentino said.

This approach, according to Tolentino, would also benefit the youth, who have long been “losing their basketball courts and track fields to development, or even overdevelopment.”

“Congested na po talaga ang Metro Manila. Dinatnan na natin yan dyan, pinilit din naman natin ayusin (Metro Manila is congested and its been that way since we came in but we we tried to fix it,” Tolentino said. “But aside from the traffic and overcongestion, we are also concerned about the welfare of our youth.”

According to Tolentino, his short stint in the MMDA gave government the realization that the youth are fast losing their opportunities to get exposed, train and excel in various fields of sports due to the unavailability of open spaces and venues to them.

“Most of our public elementary schools and high schools have buildings being made in their open spaces where our students used to play basketball, baseball and softball and even race,” Tolentino said. “Not all barangays also have decent basketball courts.”

At most times and during emergency situations, we also convert these open spaces for temporary evacuation centers,” Tolentino added.

Tolentino also lamented news reports about plans to sell the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex (RMSC), site of many historic sporting and cultural events in the past.

“Nakakapanghinayang! Kakaunti na nga lang ang mga ganyan kalaking venues para sa mga atleta natin at kabataan, may peligro pang mawala (It’s a pity because we have very few big venues and some are in danger of being sold out,” Tolentino said.

ACIRC CHAIRMAN FRANCIS TOLENTINO DINATNAN FORMER METRO MANILA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY KAKAUNTI MANILA METRO METRO MANILA NAKAKAPANGHINAYANG RIZAL MEMORIAL SPORTS COMPLEX TOLENTINO
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