FROM the venues, to logistics, to security, everything is in readiness for the 30th Southeast Asian Games which is just around the corner.
This was the assurance of Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organzing Committee (PHISGOC) chairman and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday afternoon during the grand send-off for the national athletes competing in the meet which kicks off in elaborate rites on Nov. 30 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
“Handang-handa na ang lahat para sa SEA Games,” Cayetano said to the cheers of sports officials, athletes and guests who attended the get-together that was also graced by great sports stars of the past.
Later talking to sportswriters who covered the event, Cayetano said he’s confident the country’s fourth hosting of the biennial sporting spectacle will be a success.
“We hope to deliver the biggest SEA Games yet,” Cayetano said.
A total of 1,115 athletes led by world gymnastics champion Carlos Yulo and female world boxing titlist Nesthy Petecio will carry the national colors in the 10-nation, 12-day meet.
With a war chest of more than one billion pesos in overseas training and participation in international tournaments, Team Philippines is predicted to reign supreme for the second time after topping the medal table in 2005 when the country last hosted it.
Cayetano also assured the public that the ongoing renovation of the iconic Rizal Memorial Stadium will be completed in time as work has been going on non-stop to meet the deadline.
“Sabi ni (PSC) chair Butch (Ramirez) kakayanin, so we’re monitoring it week by week. Twenty –four hours na gumagawa para matapos at umabot but may contingency (plan just in case),” he said.
Traffic is a major concern, according to Cayetano. But a traffic plan has already been laid out as well as suspension of classes in schools near some of the venues to be used during the meet.
“MMDA submitted a list of certain areas, hinihintay natin ang Palasyo sa kanilang desisyon,” said Cayetano. “Kasi nga as it is traffic na masyado lalo pa kung may excitement manood ang ating mga kababayan,” Cayetano said.
During the occasion, sports greats like former Asian sprint queen Lydia de Vega, bowling greats Bong Coo and Paeng Nepomuceno and track and field’s great Elma Muros-Posadas rubbed elbows with the athletes and shared with them their recipes for success.
In the same occasion, the House Speaker announced that boxing hero and Senator Manny Pacquiao will play a role during the opening ceremonies. But he refused to say what the famous boxer will do.
“Yes, I think that’s part of the surprise. But I can confirm, may role siya,” he said.
“He’s one of the most known Filipino sports icon sa buong mundo so I think we are selling the country short kung hindi natin isasama ang Pambansang Kamao.”