Rep. Michael Romero (1-Pacman Partylist) yesterday expressed confidence that the Philippines will be ready to host international sports competitions at the scale of an Asian Games or the Olympics in the future once adequate infrastructure, including a modern international airport, is built.
Romero, speaking as a longtime sports official and as a member of the party-list organization that advocates sports development, also said it is high time for the administration to look at international sports events as a way to draw in tourists and as a source of economic growth.
“Many studies show the positive correlation of sports tourism through the hosting of sporting events like the Olympics, and World Cup with the boost in tourism revenues as well as economic activities for the hosting country,” Romero said.
To boost the country’s stature as a sports host, Romero pointed out that better ancillary infrastructure is needed.
He said one example when the lack of infrastructure cost the Philippines when it vied for the hosting rights of 2019 Fiba Basketball World Cup against eventual winner China.
“While we were trumpeting our passion for basketball, China had the decided edge in government support and infrastructure as well as transportation facilities like roads, playing venues and even its airport. It even had the sterling record of hosting international competitions like the Asian Games and even the Olympics,“ Romero recalled.
“So if we are even to dream of hosting the Asian Games, which we have not hosted since 1954, or even the Olympics, then we should really take a look at our tourism as well as transport infrastructure like a new international gateway,” he said.
Romero pointed out that while the Philippines has already started building modern sports infrastructure in preparation for the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games, it is also the opportune time to start building an airport in preparation for bigger sports competitions.
Romero added that in the mold of modern airports like those in Singapore (Changi) and Incheon (South Korea), San Miguel’s proposed Bulacan or the New Manila International Airport appears to be the most suited for the country’s growing needs as it can accommodate more tourists, and spur development both locally and at a national level.
Romero said that as compared to the limited runway facilities of the NAIA, the proposed Bulacan airport has four runways with the provision for two more in the future. It also has a modern terminal and transportation infrastructure like roads, train system, and even a ferry route.
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