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“We will try to hold everything outside Metro Manila. We will try,” said Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, also chairman of the 2019 SEA Games Organizing Committee. Philstar.com/File Photo

Clark to serve as main hub of ’19 SEAG?
Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) - January 24, 2018 - 12:00am

CAPAS, Tarlac, Philippines — If things go on as planned, the centerpiece events of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games will be staged at the soon-to-rise New Clark City, which is two hours north of Manila.

“We will try to hold everything outside Metro Manila. We will try,” said Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, also chairman of the 2019 SEA Games Organizing Committee.

Cayetano yesterday graced the well-attended groundbreaking rites for the 200-hectare New Clark City, a project of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).

The project, which has a price tag of P13.6 billion, will be a massive haven for business, education, lifestyle, industries, nature and sports, all part of President Duterte’s “Build, Build, Build” program.

The country’s hosting of the 2019 SEA Games comes into play as the New Clark City will have its own Sports City, featuring a modern 20,000-seat stadium that can host track and field events and a 2,000-seat aquatic center.

Cayetano said he was given the assurance that the sports facilities, which will include 1,000 dormitory-type rooms of different specs, will be finished at least three months before the SEA Games.

Philippine Sports Commission chairman William Ramirez was at the groundbreaking together with Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose Cojuangco and Presidential Adviser on Sports Dennis Uy.

Ramirez said the organizing committee is about to finalize the exact date of the SEA Games although early word is that it will happen in November or December next year, giving the project easily 20 months to finish.

“The master plan is finished. What we’re trying to do is prepare all sites in Subic, Clark and Bulacan (Philippine Arena) for opening and closing ceremonies. Then we  decide which is the best place to hold it,” said Cayetano.

As he spoke, a backhoe bigger than an army tank dug dirt in the background. Tractors and front loaders were around, a clear sign that the project, under the supervision of Japanese urban development experts, is well under way.

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