The games may have already started playing earlier this week, but for all intents and purposes the Philippines-held 2019 Southeast Asian Games have not begun in earnest until the opening ceremony kicks off this coming Saturday. On the remaining days leading up to the weekend, organizers and the government have been fielding inquiries and criticisms on the preparations, ranging from held-back funding, in-operational facilities and an apparently questionable menu for the women’s football team. Since then, some clarification on these mishaps and further explanations have been provided by the organizing committee, assuring that most publicized problems have now been resolved.
CNN Philippines reports that the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) has declared that many of the problems brought up regarding the event preparations over the past several days, particularly when the athletes and support staff started arriving, are now mostly resolved. PHISGOC Chief Operating Office Ramon Suzara announced Wednesday, November 27, that several issues brought up during the SEA Games preparations ahead of the opening ceremony have been dealt with. “We are ready,” remarks Suzara, adding that the organizers continue to strive towards making the Philippines’ hosting successful.
Top concerns for the 30th SEA Games included logistical hiccups such as food for the delegates, working infrastructure and assignment of volunteers, as well as accrediting media companies providing coverage for the competitions not just for the country but the rest of Southeast Asia. Regarding volunteers, about 4,000 more will start duties at the SEA Games venues as the week goes on. A follow-up post from the organizers on Facebook also explains that the earlier snarl that messed up deployments of SEA Games volunteers was also addressed and should pose no problem. Philippine Olympic Committee President Abraham Tolentino also chimes in that media accreditation is fixed, and that all venues are ready to host games.
While POC Head Tolentino admits to the presence of many preparation issues with the Southeast Asian Games, due to it featuring over double the number of athletic events from the last one, and scattered across parts of Luzon to boot, he also notes that media coverage of the last few days have been leaping to conclusions and making some of the problems appear worse than they are. An earlier report of how the women’s football team was served kikiam street food was corrected by the hotel accommodating them, stating that it was actually chicken sausages, and the menu was also certified halal for Muslim delegates.
Lastly, Tolentino has left the media still guessing on which Filipino celebrity or athlete may be assigned to carry the flag for the opening ceremony, noting that the whole nation will know this November 30.
Image: Philippine Star