Albay wants share of SEA Games hosting

After the success of its hosting of the 2016 Palarong Pambansa, the province of Albay is looking to host a bigger, more important tournament in the future: the 30th Southeast Asian Games.

Albay governor Joey Salceda said they interested in hosting some major events - including centerpiece sports aquatics and athletics - when the country hosts the biennial meet in 2019.

Salceda said his province is ready with the facilities, hotels and structures to accommodate thousands of athletes, coaches and officials from 11 countries.

During the Palarong Pambansa, Albay pulled off a near-flawless hosting as it spent a total P450 million, bulk of which was used to refurbish the grandstand, track oval and swimming pool of the massive Albay Sports and Tourism Complex inside the campus of Bicol University.

"I want to host athletics and swimming - and archery as well. Basta lahat ng outdoor sports, kaya naming i-host," said Salceda. "Maganda kasi talaga ang (Mount) Mayon. Lahat ng outdoor sports Mayon ang background. We should optimise the opportunity for sports to promote tourism."

The Philippines was awared the SEA Games hosting after Brunei, supposed host of the 2019 edition, backed out of its commitment. Thailand expressed willingness to step in, but the SEA Games Federation council immediately offered the hosting to the Philippines.

According to Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose "Peping" Cojuangco, the SEA Games Federation council has formally awarded the hosting to the Philippines, but on the condition that all events will be held in Manila or other nearby areas.

"They want all events to be held in areas that don't require flying," said Cojuangco in a previous statement. "Gusto nila yung malalapit lang para hindi masayang ang oras at pagod nila sa byahe tuwing bibisita sila sa mga venues."

Salceda said he will reach out to Cojuangco and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Ritchie Garcia to solve the transport problem.

Albay has massive experience in risk reduction and its people are trained to deliver even under pressure.

"Madali natin magagawan ng paraan yan. Sanay na sanay dyan ang mga Albayanos," he said. "Unang-una, nasa Luzon lang kami. Hindi mahirap puntahan. Then, may infrastructure, access, information at higit sa lahat, sanay kaming dumaan sa bagyo. Magpatayo muna sila ng Mayon volcano na pumuputok at baka talunin nila kami."

"Kasi pagdating sa joint operation command, incident command system, planning and execution and support to high density population gathering, wala talagang tatalo sa Albay. I think we will be good hosts of the SEA Games delegates."

Source: Tribune

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