Grandstand rehab project to start before 2015 ends PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 13 August 2015 11:05

by Vic Larato

It’s all systems go for the multimillion renovation of the Joaquin F. Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex this coming October, now that it has been completely cleared of any debris of bunkhouses and other makeshift structures left by the internally displaced persons.

Dr. Elmeir Apolinario, chief of the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office and recovery cluster head, told the press briefing last Monday that Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson had contacted him, requesting for a meeting with the city engineers to discuss and finalize the plans and cost estimates for the restoration and improvement of the sports complex.

Apolinario, who is also the concurrent assistant city administrator and officer-in-charge of the city administrator’s administrative functions, added that Sec. Singson also wanted to know about the other recovery and rehabilitation projects, such as the government buildings and structures destroyed by bullets and/or fire during the 23-day siege in September 2013.

Early on, the city government explained that the grandstand’s rehabilitation plan is basically to restore its original form before the siege. It will involve the reconstruction of the rubberized oval, ballgame courts and playing field, the bleachers and other facilities, which have been totally destroyed and virtually erased from the ground.

Apolinario has said in one of previous press briefings the grandstand rehabilitation project will cost more or less P350 million and it will be done by phases, depending on how much funds available.

To recall, the Zamboanga siege had displaced more than 23,000 families with 118,000 individuals. A huge number of the IDPs were evacuated to the grandstand, making it the biggest evacuation center since the attack on Zamboanga.

A year later, the number of IDPs at the grandstand was gradually reduced, following the relocation on a voluntary basis of some evacuees to the different transitory sites.

At least 1,303 families voluntarily moved out of the grandstand last April and transferred to the Masepla Transitory Site in Mampang, while 433 other families opted to resettle at Tulungatung Transitory Site; 114 families moved to the PTSI property in Upper Calarian, 209 families to Sitio Buggoc, Sta. Catalina, 28 families to the Silsilah temporary shelters, also in Sta. Catalina, and 132 families to occupied temporary shelters inside the Rio Hondo Elementary School.

The last to move out before the grandstand was completely closed down on July 16 were 552 families, thus paving the way for the clearing operations inside the sports complex.

According to Apolinario, the city government was able to secure initial funds enough to start the first phase of the grandstand’s rehabilitation. Once the plan is approved, bidding can immediately commence and the actual work can probably begin by October.

Recall further, the sports complex was constructed in 1992 when Zamboanga City hosted for the first time the Palarong Pambansa. At the time, it was the policy of the national government to grant P100 million to any the local government unit hosting the annual games.— Vic Larato