Building of SEAG facilities in progress
THINGS are falling into place and according to schedule.
Newly appointed Philippine Olympic Committee spokesman Ed Picson said this after POC president Ricky Vargas had an initial meeting with Foreign Affairs secretary and 2019 Southeast Asian Games organizing committee chairman Allan Peter Cayetano Wednesday evening.
“It was a just a briefing from the organizing committee. It was good. Everything is rolling,” said Picson.
The meeting with Cayetano came two months after backhoes began digging soil from the ground inside a property in Capas, Tarlac to start the groundwork on facilities that will be built and used for the SEA Games.
During the briefing, Cayetano told Vargas that work is now in progress on venues that will be used for the Games, which are set to be held from Nov. 30 to Dec. 6.
The venues are part of a P13.6-billion project, known as Phase 1A of the New Clark City (NCC).
This will include a track oval and an Olympic-sized pool that will be located inside the Aquatics and Athletics Center.
The athletics stadium will have a seating capacity of 20,000 while the aquatics center can accommodate 2,000.
Aside from this, Vargas, who also remains a top executive with PLDT and First Pacific, was told that the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan is also available.
Next, Cayetano told Vargas that they have plans of holding the opening ceremonies in Metro Manila.
Philippine Sports Commission chairman William Ramirez was also present at the meeting at Hungry Hound Restaurant inside the Bonifacio Global City.
The facilities, according to Cayetano, will be up and running around October 2019, two months before the Games get going in December.
Vargas, who was with POC chairman Abraham “Bambol” Tolentin o, also met with the executive director of the 2019 SEA Games Organizing Committee Executive Director Ramon “Tats” Suzara.
Vargas and POC Chairman Bambol Tolentino, Secretary-General Patrick Gregorio, Deputy Secretary general Karen Caballero were also around to witness the presentation of Suzara.
Also around was Cayetano’s executive assistant and Organizing Committee Deputy Executive Director Monica Mitra, Organizing Committee Head of Special Events Jen Reyes and Head of Planning Kyle Principe.
It was only on Wednesday that Vargas announced the appointment of veteran media man and ABAP Secretary-General Ed Picson as the official POC Spokesperson and Communications Director.
Aside from confirmed former POC Chairman Robert Aventajado as the chairman of the Arbitration and Disputes Committee with Atty Charlie Ho as member, Robert Bachmann was named chairman of the Membership Committee, with Pearl Managuelod & Quintin Pastrana as members.
Ormoc City Mayor and Fencing president Richard Gomez had accepted his appointment as Chef de Mission for the Asian Games in Indonesia this August.
“These committees are critical because there are several NSAs that are saddled with leadership or turf issues. We need to settle those so we can concentrate on our athletes’ training and welfare”, Vargas said.
Manny Cabili and Bachmann are his Deputies for the Asiad.
“I just hope that everyone will work together with us and give us a chance to get our bearings and handle things our way. Of course, suggestions and even criticism are welcome-that’s part of the territory. One thing I can assure is that I will lead and work with an open mind, transparency and honesty”, added Vargas.