DAVAO ORIENTAL – The Province of Davao Oriental will soon be ready to host big sporting events as the Provincial Government recently broke the ground for its new Provincial Sports Complex touted to be at par with other “world-class” sports facilities in the country.
Governor Nelson Dayanghirang led on Monday, January 13, the groundbreaking ceremony of the highly anticipated sports facility situated at the province’s newly acquired sprawling 12-hectare property in Barangay Don Martin Marundan in the City of Mati.
Provincial Engineer’s Office OIC Head, Engr. Ruel Dumadag, who explained the technical specifications of the project, said that the embankment will be elevated by four meters. “It will make the sports complex something like a plateau,” he said.
Monday’s groundbreaking ceremony signaled the start for the construction of the first phase of the project which covers the land development, construction of perimeter fence, embankment, drainage system, and concrete road networks with a grand entrance with four lanes and a divider island.
To be implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Regional Office, the phase one of the project amounting to P233 million is anticipated to be completed within eight months, added Dumadag.
However, for the project to be fully completed, an additional budget of about P1 billion is still needed in order to construct all the proposed facilities and structures, of which the province hopes to source out from various sources in the national government in the next few years.
Facilities and structures that will comprise the envisioned world-class facility include a grandstand, bleachers, an oval, athletics field, baseball field, archery field, ball games area, aquatic center, administrative and receptions buildings, parking and commercial spaces, among others. There will also be an athlete’s dormitory to house athletes from other municipalities or provinces participating in events. “Classes need not be suspended during sports events because athletes will be housed on a separate facility,” said Engr. Duamdag, adding that “soon there will be no need to have many sports venues since all sports events will be held only within the walls of the sports center.”
Moreover, the sports center will be highlighted with a 10,000-capacity gymnasium, touted to become the major attraction of the highly ambitious sports center project.
More than just a sports center, the sports facility will also feature a forest park and playground, which complies with the green building design standards.
However, all these structures will be built gradually. “It may even take a few years”, said Governor Dayanghirang, who vowed to exhaust all efforts to secure funding for the main structures and to make the envisioned facility become a reality. “We’ll just have to patiently wait for another wave of funding but rest assured it will come,” he said.
The Governor’s statement was backed by Second District Rep. Joel Mayo Almario, who will support the funding for the phase one of the project. “It will take time. But for as long as we are together it will come,” he said. “Exciting times are ahead,” he added.
Partners for Development
Funded by the national government through the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the P233 million budget earmarked for the first phase of the project was secured by Governor Dayanghirang and was backed by Second District Rep. Almario.
Now listed under the 2020 National Expenditures Program, the project was originally part of the P95 billion budget vetoed by the President last year, of which Davao Oriental got a slice of P3 billion.
Governor Dayanghirang thanked Congressman Almario, who, although has the “power of the purse” wherein he can realign the priority projects already listed, has instead supported the smooth approval of the project.
“The Provincial Sports Complex, along with scores of other projects is sourced from the budget ceiling of Congressman Almario,” said Gov. Dayanghirang, expressing his thanks to the Second District representative for allocating a big portion of his congressional budget for his priority projects amounting to a total of P1.5 billion.
“Unlike other provinces whose governors and congressmen have encountered disagreements arising from the realignment of projects, we have to consider ourselves very lucky that here in the province, officials are committed to a shared goal,” said Gov. Dayanghirang.
“This is a concrete manifestation of the partnership of the provincial leadership and my Congressional Office. That for the benefit of the people, I don’t mind what projects are listed because I know this is for everyone’s advantage,” said Rep. Almario, who divulged that there will be more groundbreaking ceremonies for various projects in the district in the coming weeks.
Governor Dayanghirang said the project was born out of his administration’s ambitious goals to make the province a new hub for sporting events in the region and even in the country. He said this will not only help inspire local athletes but will also draw more opportunities for the province in terms of investments and tourism.
“The sports center will become a major income-generating facility for our province,” said Governor Dayanghirang, adding that it will also benefit local businesses and help create jobs as an offshoot of the development.
“This will be a come-on as many would want to avail of our sports center,” said Rep. Almario, adding that while there are other sports center in the region like Tagum City, the province of Davao Oriental has more advantage because of its exquisite beaches and other exciting tourist destinations.
And with the highly anticipated operation of the Mati Airport, residents and government officials are optimistic that there will be more developments in the province in the coming years.
Present during the ceremony were District Engineer Jane Cainghog who represented DPWH Regional Director Engr. Allan Borromeo, Vice Governor Niño Uy, Second District Representative Joel Mayo Almario, Department of the Interior and Local Government Provincial Director Orle Cabaobao, and other members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. By Karen Lou Deloso/Photos by Eden Jhan Licayan