By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora
MANILA — Preparations for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games are “on track”, an official of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) said Thursday night.
Ramon Suzara, PHISGOC chief operating officer, said Manila is looking at the completion of all construction tasks by end of September or October.
“Again, we are trying to fast track the (construction of) competition venues especially the temporary ones. We are building a lot of temporary venues,” he said. “We are working double time and triple time for the opening day in November.”
On Thursday, Suzara and representatives from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, and Timor Leste met in Manila for the second SEA Games chefs de mission meeting.
In a media briefing, the CDMs also expressed confidence that PHISGOC would “successfully” achieve its targets prior to the biennial meeting.
“I think under COO Ramon, I believe everything is on track,” said Harry Warganegara of Indonesia. “We are here to see the progress, all the questions have been answered.”
While admitting he was concerned about the situation within the organizing committee, Chris Chan of Singapore is confident the staging of the 56 sports and 530 events in November “is going to be fine”.
“The last time the Philippines hosted the game was in 2005, today we have a big figure for the number of sports but I think when you compare it 40 sports 14 years ago, 56 is manageable,” he said.
“Yes, we were a little disturbed when we heard about the stories of infighting going on in the NOC but today, I rest assured that everything is going on fine. At the end of it all it’s about preparing the games for the athletes,” he added.
Datuk Megat Zulkarnain Omardin of Malaysia, on the other hand, said he was “quite happy” with the report given by the organizers.
“Definitely, the first thing that I would do back home is gonna call for a meeting that is scheduled Tuesday for all the team managers… to tell them that the Philippines is ready and that we have nothing to worry back home.”
The CDMs will be visiting the various venues for the SEA Games including the Philippine Arena today, Friday, where the 30th SEA Games opening ceremonies will be held.
A third meeting among the CDMs, meanwhile, is scheduled in October after the deadline for the detailed entry by names of participating athletes on September 2. In terms of progress, PHISGOC reported the completion and distribution of the 53 of 64 technical handbooks to the visiting CDMs.
The remaining 11 are expected to be distributed by the end of July. (PNA)