The Freeman article on the CCSC oval

Signature campaign on for renovation of 15-year-old CCSC track oval
By Marigold P. Lebumfacil

CEBU, Philippines – Some concerned members of the Cebu sporting community have formally launched a signature campaign aimed at pressuring the City government officials to appropriate funds for the renovation of the 15-year-old rubberized track oval of the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC).

Sportswriters Association of Cebu (SAC) president John Pages and CCSC manager Ricky Ballesteros spearheaded the move in a meeting with school athletic directors, heads of running clubs, and the education sector the other night at Sunburst Restaurant along General Maxilom Avenue, this city.

“We will try as a community, to be united and in a positive way, help convince our city officials for the renovation or repair of the track oval. And I guess the signature campaign would be the best thing that we could do to somehow positively pressure our city officials,” Pages said.

Built in 1994 when the City hosted the Palarong Pambansa, the construction of the CCSC was funded by the national government in partnership with Cebu City behind the efforts of Mayor Tomas Osmeña.

Pages pointed out some valid reasons why this year is the best opportune time for the track oval to undergo a major facelift. Chief among them is the announcement of Mayor Osmeña that he will prioritize the repair of the track oval if the funds from the South Road Properties (SRP) start flowing in. Second, there is a P250 million surplus from the city’s 2008 budget.

“Next year will be Mayor Tom’s (Osmeña) last term and since he was the one who established it, it would be better that he will make a graceful exit by sufficing the repair of the oval,” said Pages.

Ballesteros said the maximum life span of a rubberized track oval ranges from five to 10 years. Obviously, the CCSC track oval had gone more than the specified time.
Since he took the reins of managing the sports center, Ballesteros said he had been constantly wooing the city officials to repair the oval.

“I’ve been proposing this to them every year, but they would say that there has no enough budget yet. It’s good thing that many have already felt the need to renovate the oval and we hope that it will be realized this year,” said Ballesteros.

Ballesteros said the amount needed for the renovation will range from P30 to P35 million depending on the materials that will be used.

Running club heads, athletes, department heads and the school athletic directors showed their full support to the signature campaign. The group is targeting more than 50,000 signatures before endorsing the matter to Acting Mayor Michael Rama.

“More and more runners are using the oval so we need to do something. And this signature campaign would be of great help. The more signatures we get, the better. With the increasing number of runners, we really need a good place,” said Run for Sight founder and event organizer Dr. Potenciano “Yong” Larrazabal.

“I would be very happy that the track oval will be changed and this would be of great benefit for us athletes. It’s hard for our part that the venue for our practice will get even worse. That’s why I will really help in the campaign for the repair of the track oval,” said marathoner Mendel Lopez, who placed fourth in the men’s 21K category during last Sunday’s Hong Kong marathon.

One the other hand, Dr. Danilo “Danny” Villadolid of the Department of Education (DepEd) Region VII said the education sector would be of great help in the signature drive by asking the Physical Education (PE) teachers to encourage the students in joining such move.

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