By: Jean Malanum
MANILA — The country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) received a big boost from no less than President Rodrigo Roa Duterte after he approved PHP1 billion additional funding to ensure the success of the biennial tournament slated from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 this year.
This was announced by Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) chair Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday as he welcomed the additional PHP1 billion that increased the total government budget for SEA Games to PHP6 billion.
“The President agreed to augment the current budget of the SEA Games because he understood the importance of the SEA Games to the Filipino athletes and its long-term benefits to the tourism and economic sectors in the country,” said Cayetano in a statement released to the media on Thursday.
“We are very much encouraged by the support of the President and the Cabinet. During the Cabinet briefing, we committed to having the best viewed and best hosted SEA Games,” Cayetano added.
The PHISGOC has proposed a PHP7.5 billion budget for SEA Games last year but Congress slashed it to PHP5 billion.
Accompanied by Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) President Vince Dizon and Executive Board member and PHISGOC Chief Operating Officer Ramon Suzara, Cayetano attended a Cabinet meeting on Monday and presented the importance of the SEA Games as an opportunity to showcase the image of the country that is safe, vibrant and competitive.
The PHISGOC officials also gave an update on the construction of the SEA Games venues and other facilities.
“We briefed the President and the Cabinet about the progress of the preparations including the construction of the major infrastructure facilities where the events will be held such as the Athletics Stadium, Aquatics Center and the Athletics Village,” Cayetano said.
Cayetano told the Cabinet members that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Procurement Service will be tapped to help facilitate the procurement process to allow the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) conduct a faster and more efficient procurement of goods, supplies, sports equipment and service contractors that will cater to the needs of the SEA Games.
“By designating the DBM Procurement Service as the procuring entity, we can make sure that every cent of government’s money is well accounted for,” Cayetano said.
The 2019 SEA Games will feature 56 sports and 523 events, making it the biggest edition in the history of the tournament which the Philippines will host for the fourth time.
A total of 7,806 athletes and 3,444 coaches from 11 countries are taking part in the 30th SEA Games.
The Philippines has the most number of athletes at 1,895 followed by Indonesia (1,718), Singapore (1,581), and Thailand (1,462).
The New Clark City Sports Complex in Pampanga will serve as the main venue of the SEA Games. The other venues are in Subic (Zambales), Tagaytay (Cavite) and Metro Manila.
The 11 participating countries are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Timor Leste, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines. (PNA)