WHILE the Azkals are set to sail for Japan after a fruitful work-out in the Summer Capital, Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri is batting for the creation of a football stadium in the city with an international standard.
Zubiri, who recently visited the city, promised to look for an ideal site in Baguio and this will also serve as the official home of the Philippine Football team when they have their high altitude training.
"Actually maganda dito magtayo ng training camp because of the weather," Zubiri told media. "Meron tayong plano para magtayo ng stadium pero malaki ang budget na kailangan which will cost at least P600 to P700 million."
Azkals head coach Michael Hans Weiss also liked the proposal because this means a big boost for the country's football squad.
Zubiri said they are eyeing corporate sponsors to back them up in this possible venture which according to the senator would be according to FIFA standard.
"We are looking for two stadia here in the country, one in Visayas and another here in Luzon which would probably be here in Baguio because of the cold weather and at the same time conducive for high altitude training," added Zubiri.
With the Rizal Stadium in Metro Manila and the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod being primed-up for the upcoming Suzuki Cup this year, Zubiri said he will push for Baguio to become the third stadium with international standards.
"Aside from the stadium, gusto rin natin sanang gawin ang Baguio as the center of all training camps gaya nung Gintong Alay but we cannot do this because Pagcor has been remiss in remitting the 5% to the country's sports program," said Zubiri.
Zubiri said the five percent should be directly remitted to the country sports program but since the time of former President Ramos up to now, the five percent is being used by the country's top official for his social fund.
"We're hoping na sana maibalik na sa sports program ng bansa yung five percent dahil malaiking bagay ito para sa ating mga atleta," the senator added.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 27, 2011.