THE Bocaue municipal government, led by first-time Mayor Joni Villanueva-Tugna, is ready to roll out the welcome mat to the Philippine Azkals and the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup opening on Nov. 19 at the 20,000-capacity Philippine Sport Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan.
“We welcome the staging of the AFF Suzuki Cup and the Azkals because this is a huge international sports competition that will draw attention to our town,” Tugna, the daughter of Jesus Is Lord Spiritual Director Bro. Eddie Villanueva, said.
The mayor pointed out that Bocaue is a gateway to neighboring Bulacan towns such as Sta. Maria, Balagtas and Marilao “and we intend to also solicit the support of these municipalities to fill up the Philippine Sports Stadium for the Suzuki Cup.”
She said that the staging of the blue-ribbon regional soccer tournament in Bocaue is timely since it lines up with the municipal government’s plans to turn the town into a key sports and tourism hub in the province.
“We have the Bocaue River where we want to stage water sports like dragon boat rowing while we would also like to highlight our unique Bocaue cuisine,” said Tugna, whose brother, Sen. Joel Villanueva, was a former UST varsity player and avid sports enthusiast.
The mayor added that her administration would like to extend any assistance it can to the Philippine Football Federation in promoting and ensuring the success of the Suzuki Cup.
Among these areas, she said, was traffic control and coordination to and from the PSS during the Nov. 19, Nov. 22 and Nov. 25 match dates of the Group A competition featuring the host Philippines, defending champion Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore.
“We have witnessed how traffic can be congested when the Philippine Arena and Philippine Sports Stadium hold events there so we would like to make our resources available to the Suzuki Cup organizers,” Tugna said.
She also raised the possibility of harnessing the Bocaue municipal government’s manpower in the security and safety of fans and participants for the duration of the competition.
Although expecting her fourth child with CIBAC party-list Rep. Sherwin Tugna anytime soon, the Bulacan mayor is hopeful that she would be able to be up and about in time for the opening of the Suzuki Cup to witness and root for the Azkals in action.
“We are aware how important these matches are for the country and the Azkals and, God willing, would like to personally be around to watch all of their games at the Philippine Sports Stadium,” Tugna said.
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