Albay bids to host swimming, athletics in 2019 SEA Games

Mark Escarlote on Apr 17, 2016 09:53 AM
Albay bids to host swimming, athletics in 2019 SEA Games
Kung ibibigay nila (ang Southeast Asian Games sports hosting) ang gusto ko athletics and swimming --- Albay Gov. Joey Salceda

LEGAZPI CITY --- See you in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

Outgoing Governor Joey Salceda revealed that the province is aggressively pursuing the rights to stage some events of the biennial meet when the Philippines hosts the SEA Games three years from now.

The province successfully hosted the 59th edition of the Palarong Pambansa that saw some 200,000 student-athletes, school and technical officials and spectators descend to the province for the annual grassroots multi-sporting spectacle serving as a breeding ground for the country’s next sports heroes.

Salceda said that he is already lobbying with the Philippine Olympic Committee for the province to host two or three sports disciplines including the medal-rich swimming and athletics.   

"Kung ibibigay nila ang gusto ko athletics and swimming,” said Salceda. “Archery din, I think.”

The Philippines got the hosting rights for the 2019 SEA Games after Brunei backed out due to limited infrastructure for the meet. The country hosted the 2005 SEA Games in Manila where the Philippines won the overall title. Malaysia will host next year’s SEA Games.    

The facilities in the sprawling Albay Sports and Tourism Complex inside the Bicol University here served as the main hub for athletics and swimming as well as for the colorful and festive opening and closing ceremonies of the 59th edition of Palaro. 

Archery was played at the Provincial Engineering Office grounds in Salugan, Camalig.

Salceda said that hosting events of the SEA Games is also a good venue to promote tourism for the province known for its majestic view of the enchanting Mayon Volcano.  

“Maganda sa Mayon. Lahat ng mga outdoor sport ang background Mayon. We should optimize the opportunity for sports to promote tourism,” said Salceda.

The official added that the province not only boasts of its facilities, location and tourism lure but also for the efficiency of its manpower to handle a huge event, something that Salceda thinks is a plus against other bidders.

"Unang una may mga rules. Siyempre unang-una nasa Luzon kami. May infrastructure, access, information, siyempre ang wala sila, ang hindi nila matutunan, siyempre kailangan dumaan ka sa bagyo. Magpatayo muna sila ng Mayon Volcano na pumuputok at baka talunin nila kami,” said Salceda.

“Kasi ‘pag dating ko sa joint operation command, sa incident command system, ‘pag dating sa planning and execution and support sa high density population gathering, walang tatalo sa Albay,” he added.

Salceda said that their disaster management – natural or man-made - through the years trained the Albayanons to respond in any situation and handling an international meet won’t be a hard task.

Salceda, who is running for Congress in next month’s national poll, put in example their near flawless weeklong hosting of Palaro, a P450 million undertaking that was benchmarked by a national TV coverage provided by ABS-CBN.        

“I think it's a big plus not just for disaster resilience but at the same time, for an orderly and systematic hosting of Palaro,” he said. “Every single athlete, we were able to monitor. And it takes practice to do that. Minsan inaabot kami ng 120 days sa evacuation center. Praktisado po kami mag alaga ng 50,000 na tao sa isang lugar.”

National Capital Region dominated the 2016 Palarong Pambansa once again with a haul of 104 gold, 57 silver and 48 bronze medals.

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