Sport facilities targeted for 2019 SEA Games hosting — Cayetano

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 26) — Preparations for the country's hosting of the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games are underway, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said Wednesday.

In an interview with radio station DZMM, Cayetano said the construction of sports facilities in New Clark City in Tarlac province, north of Manila, is in progress.

The facilities are targeted for completion in September next year. It includes a 20,000-seater multi-purpose athletics stadium, an aquatics center, as well as an athletic village.

Cayetano, who heads the National Organizing Committee for the 30th edition of the biennial sports meet, said the government set aside P22.5 billion for the games.

"Budget for SEA Games next year is P7.5 billion, because we are expecting 15-20,000 athletes, officials, and tourists to come," he said in the interview. "But this budget is still different from the maybe around P15 billion for the facilities."

Cayetano added it can be used even after the competitions.

"Athletes' village, isang libo kasya. Ang katabi po niyan, 'yung Government Workers' Residence naman para po doon sa magta-trabaho sa Clark," he said.

"Tapos diyan gagawin po 'yung National Government Center, 'yung ibang opisina, lilipat na.'Yung iba naman kung may kalamidad sa Metro Manila, 'yun ang magiging operational," he added.

[Translation: The athletes' village can accommodate up to 1,000 people. Next to it is the Government Worker's Residence for those who will work in Clark. That will also be the site of the National Government Center, where some offices will be moved. Should there be a calamity in Metro Manila, it will also be operational.]

"But just like the Olympics, huwag maging white elephant. Pero ang mabuti, kung mabubuo 'to, may magagamit tayo for the next 10 years," Cayetano said.

[Translation: But just like the Olympics, I hope it will not be white elephant. But the good thing is, if this is completed, it can be used for the next 10 years.]

The Philippines earlier backed out of hosting the SEA Games, as the government planned to divert the funds to rehablitate Marawi.

The Department of Foreign Affairs however took back the statement weeks after, saying President Rodrigo Duterte had approved the games hosting.

The country wrapped up the 2017 edition of the contest at sixth place with 24 golds, 33 silvers, and 64 bronzes.

The 2019 SEA Games will happen from November 30 through December 10.