MANILA (12 Feb 2011) – The cost of renovating and increasing the capacity of the Panaad Stadium to 32,000 has been estimated to cost some PHP200 million (USD4.5million).
The current capacity of the Panaad Stadium is 16,000 and was the venue of the Philippines 2-0 win over Mongolia in the first-leg play-offs of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup two days ago.
Monico Puentevella, the chairman of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) said that a big source of funds will be assured if only PAGCOR (Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation) remits 5% of their gross income to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) as mandated by R. A. 6847.
To meet the AFC’s lighting requirements, an additional 300 lux was installed at Panaad the previous week with the fixtures taken from the nearby Paglaum Stadium.
That brought the lighting capacity at the Panaad to 800 lux which was the requirement for the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup matches.
The Panaad Stadium was built in 1998 during the term of Governor Lito Coscolluela to host the Centennial Palaro.
Puentevella said the budget to boost Panaad’s capacity could be easily raised if FIFA, generous Middle East countries, the national government and a corporate sponsor like PLDT contribute to the fund.
“It’s a national effort,” said PLDT chairman Manny V. Pangilinan. “PLDT will sit down with Gov. (Alfredo) Maranon’s staff to discuss coordination points. If only PAGCOR remits what it is supposed to by law to the PSC, there shouldn’t be a problem raising the funds.
“If PAGCOR follows the law, the PSC should be getting about PHP1.2 billion (USD27 million) a year instead of only PHP600 million (USD13.5million). With what it’s supposed to get, the PSC could easily allocate about PHP100 million (USD2.28 million) to refurbish Panaad. If countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar can build national football stadiums up to AFC standards, why can’t we?
“The idea is not to build from scratch,” said Puentevella. “Let’s look at the available stadiums. We’ve checked out the Rizal Memorial, University of Makati, PhilSports, Iloilo and Cebu and none can compare with Panaad which has the potential to increase viewing capacity to 32,000. Panaad also has adequate lighting and parking space.”
A PHP200 million (USD4.5 million) budget could build another roofed grandstand on the opposite side of the field and seats behind the two goals to increase the capacity to 32,000.
The Philippines failed to get a go-signal from the AFF to host a Suzuki Cup semifinal game last year because no venue could meet international standards.
“Let’s hope we never get embarrassed again,” said Puentevella. “The Negros Occidental chapter of the United Architects Association of the Philippines has made an initial survey and came up with a P200 million (USD4.5 million) budget to refurbish Panaad.”