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Albay eyes hosting SEA Games

After successfully playing host to the Palarong Pambansa 2016, Albay Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda said on Sunday he plans to bid for the hosting by Albay of the Southeast Asian Games 2019, the second biggest sports event in the world. Salceda said with the new and modern facilities used in the Palarong Pambansa, Albay is very much ready for a bigger sports event.

The facilities were constructed in a span of five months by Verzontal Builders Inc. under the close supervision of the Provincial Engineering Office.

“We only need a few more additional facilities to be able to have better hosting of a bigger sports activity, like facilities for indoor games and additional air-conditioning units for the existing facilities,” Salceda said.

The governor said he and Department of Education Secretary Armin Luistro have already talked about this and they both believe that some events of the SEA Games can be held in the province so not all would be concentrated in Metro Manila and that Manila-Albay could be co-hosts.

Aside from access facilities, he said, one of the assets of Albay in bidding is being expert in establishing and running joint operation and incident commands in more orderly and systematic manner.

In terms of accommodation, Salceda said Albay has been used to handling and taking care of a number of guests because the Albayanos have learned to face all situations in times of calamity like strong typhoons and Mayon volcano eruptions wherein not less than 50,000 individuals are being taken care of for a span of 120 days.

In terms of security, he said, all Albay needs to know is to replicate the security plan done during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in the country.

The Albay chief executive said that under the “Gintong Albay Program,” which was patterned after that of Michael Keon, the province will focus on three events where the Albayanos excel, from athletics wherein they become the champion in Palarong Bicol in three years — 2011, 2012 and 2013 — to swimming and cycling where height is not needed to win.

He said he will do this and pursue this even if he will no longer be at the provincial capitol and instead be in Congress.

All that are needed, he said, are determination, resources and early training of athletes with more incentives like what the province is now doing — Php5,000 cash incentive for gold medalist, Php4,000 for silver and Php3,000 for bronze.

In the Bicol Region, only Albay has been practicing the incentive system, Salceda said.

Meanwhile, for the maintenance of the sports facilities, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan committee on budget and appropriations headed by Board Member Ralph Andes passed an ordinance allotting Php5 million so these would be continuously taken care of.

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