Baguio finalizes sports code to benefit athletes, coaches

BAGUIO CITY – The city council’s sports committee is expected to consolidate all inputs after the second public hearing for the first City Sports Code was completed on January 31, Councilor Levy Lloyd Orcales said on Monday.
Orcales, Sangguniang Kabataan Federation chairman in Baguio, said the final draft is being prepared for submission to the city council for deliberations and passage into an ordinance.
Orcales said his office is now ready to finalize the draft after their consultative meetings with athletes, coaches, and sports stakeholders.
He said they are looking at the passage of an ordinance that will not only look into the incentives of athletes and coaches for bringing home medals but also provide continuous training and provision of facilities and equipment.
“We are ready to finalize it and come out with the draft by the end of this February,” Orcales said.
During the five-hour consultation at the Supreme Hotel, stakeholders in sports including medal haulers of the Southeast Asian games also attended.
“Although I am a little behind since the initial consultation was made September last year, I assure the concerned people (athletes and coaches) that the sports code will soon be a reality,” he said.
Orcales said the completion of the draft is taking time as it is difficult to make one starting from scratch.
“What the city had was a sports incentive ordinance that was first effected to reward and motivate athletes,” he said, referring to the first city measure made possible by the late councilor and former Gintong Alay camp director Narciso Padilla.
In 2016, the Padilla measure was amended to increase incentives, thanks to then councilor and now vice mayor Faustino Olowan.
Orcales said the second round of consultation was meant to look into the welfare of athletes and coaches.
“We will not only look into the financial compensation as embodied in the existing city sports ordinance (Ordinance 20, series of 2016),” Orcales told the Philippine News Agency.
He said another concern is the definition of who are Baguio athletes and coaches since the “definition under the existing city ordinance is enrolled in a Baguio school, but he or she should be Baguio-born and permanent resident here.”
Of the 40 athletes that won medals in the recent Southeast Asian Games, for instance, only 15 have been identified by his office as real “Baguio residents” among them double gold medalist Stephanie Sabalo, taekwondo player Jeordan Dominguez, wushu sanda’s Divine Wally, and Jearome Calica, among others.
Another concern is what to do with the Baguio athletic bowl complex in line with the PHP450 million development fund from the Department of Tourism for the Burnham Park Complex, where the sports facility is located and part of.
He said he was told by Mayor Benjamin Magalong that PHP200 million has been secured but then “we need another PHP235 million for the athletic bowl.”
The program of works for the first phase of the construction of a four-story youth convergence and sports center is about to be completed with the bidding sometime in March.
He said the first story will be a youth center while the upper two floors will be utilized as a basketball/volleyball gym and for other ball games including a six-lane bowling alley.
He said other concerns which the City Building and Architects Office will tackle will be the upgrade of the skating rink, skateboarding area, athletic bowl bleachers, gyms and other offices, the Melvin Jones for softball and football fields and rock climbing.
Orcales said they need also to federate local sports associations so that only one will be its representative to the city government.
“We need to know which is the most competitive and talented and for them to federate and have a set of officers who will be its representative to the city government,” he said.
He added: “Right now, some have splinter groups and we are also being accused of patronizing one group over the other and calling us a padrino.”
The city council chairman of the youth welfare and sports committee will also establish a Hall of Fame award for athletes and coaches who excelled in international competitions as well as supporters. **By Pigeon Lobien

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