Issue of September 1, 2019
Mt. Province
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BTC folks steadfast amid eviction rumors
by PNA release

Elderly members of the Baguio Tennis Club (BTC) remained positive amid calls for them to vacate the four-tennis court under their care and management which the city turned over to them in 1976.

Despite negative remarks against their club by City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña during a dialogue last month, the club believes that the positive things they have been doing in the past 43 years for the sport and its athletes will outweigh the negative reaction.

“We have done so many good things for the athletes and the sport,” former BTC president Tony Domes-ag said.

Several old-time members, including retired Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center director Jesus del Prado, shared this view.

“We do not disallow athletes from any school from using the club courts,” said the 66-year-old former mayor of Penarrubia, Abra, who took upon himself to speak in behalf of the group after the negative reports came out, including allegations that they are restricting student-athletes from using the facility.

Domes-ag said court 4 has always been open to student-athletes and they can also use all the courts if no one is using them.

“The players, mostly senior citizens, start playing at 6 a.m. until 10 a.m. only, but after that, all the courts will be free for use of the kids,” said Armando Marasigan, an engineer who had been playing tennis for decades.

“We worked hard for this. We put our efforts to making the three courts that was given us to four courts,” said the retired doctor.

The city government does not provide for the operation of the tennis court but the members’ fees sustain the needs to continue the operation of the facility. 

BTC spends an average of P60,000 annually for the shell aside from the monthly water bill of P11,000 to regularly water the court to maintain the good bounce of the ball. Repair of the facility including the roofing is from the club’s funds.

Retired bank executive Rolando de Guzman, 69, expressed sadness over the possible take-over of the facility, saying it will derail improvement of young tennis players.

“The project will take years to complete. What will happen to our players?” said de Guzman, one of the stalwarts of the Bishop Golf Cup and Bishop Cenzon Foundation that was able to put churches in far-flung communities in Benguet.

“That is my fear because the court will be placed atop the building,” he said.

The tennis court as well as the Philippine Army Reserve Command 14th Regional Community Defense Group and the RnR Comfort Rooms are expected to be removed when the plan to put up a multi-level sports complex in the said area is pursued.

Originally, the plan was to put up the facility at the open space between the track and the swimming pool, but it was recently paved for open courts for basketball, volleyball and other ball games.

Instead, the city is eyeing now the area occupied by the three entities for the sports facility which will house indoor and allied sports.

As early as 2015, the city government has already allocated P60 million for the construction of a multi-level indoor sports facility but the project never took off.

The facility eyed may cost around P300M.

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