4th DISTRICT Congresswoman Lucy Torres-Gomez, together with husband Richard Gomez, inaugurated this afternoon (Sunday, September 14) the rubberized oval at the Ormoc City Central School here.
The rubberized oval is the 26th of its kind in the country and was funded in phases by the congresswoman’s Priority Assistance Development Fund (PDAF) thought the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) during her first term.
Present during the inauguration were city councilors Vincent Rama and Gerardo Penserga, who is also the chairman of the youth and sports committee; DepEd Leyte Supt. Ronelo Al K. Firmo; Ormoc City division superintendent Mariza Magan and Engr. Lino Gonzales, head of the 4th Leyte Engineering Division.
Engr. Gonzales, in his speech before an audience of teachers, running enthusiasts and barangay chairmen allied to the Gomezes, detailed how Congresswoman Lucy Torres-Gomez funded the improvement of the oval from her Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) during her first term.
He said that the congresswoman and Richard, then her chief of staff, made sure that the funds were effectively spent on improving the oval to the point that instead of contracting out its rubber overlay, the couple opted to bring in suppliers from China directly to work on the project.
Gonzales said that while phase I and II of the project was finished within its time frame of 240 calendar days, there was a delay in the rubber overlay because of the rains. Just as it was ready for the overlay, Yolanda hit the region, again delaying the project.
Nonetheless, he said, after the obstacles the project had to hurdle, it is now finished.
The oval, he said, is now ready to be the venue of running and sprint competitions. He also explained that much as they would want to put up very bright lights to illuminate the oval at night, prudence dictated that this would be expensive to maintain. Hence, they opted for the lights that are now on the field which is low maintenance but enough to illuminate runners and leisurely joggers at night.
He said the lights were funded by savings that they generated from the prudent execution of the project. “Kun tanan gipa-kontrata, mga P 60-million siguro ang gastuhon ani nga oval”, said Gonzales, but because they contracted the rubber overlay directly from Chinese suppliers, the government only spent P 40-million.
For her part, Cong. Gomez said that the rubberized is one of her seven “legacy projects” for her district. She said that husband Richard, who is an avid anti-drugs advocate, lobbied with her for the project’s funding because he believes that it could give Ormoc youth an avenue to vent their zeal and energy.
Richard, on the other hand, appealed to the audience to help take care of the oval. He said that in the meantime they are drawing a tripartite agreement on how to raise funds for its maintenance, the public is free to use it.
The inauguration was capped with fun runs. One category was a run for “lady boys”. Another was a relay for runners aged 50 above. There was also the 400-meter dash and 1,500 meter run for the younger crowd.
The winners got cash prizes and the champions, a congressional medal.