The construction of the New Clark City Sports Complex, the main venue of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, will be completed by the end of August, Malacañang said on Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) bared this development during Monday’s Cabinet meeting, presided by President Rodrigo Duterte at the Malacañan Palace.

“The Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee reported that SEA Games-related construction will be completed at the end of August 2019,” said Panelo in a statement.

Earlier, PHISGOC chairman and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said the new sports complex is expected to be completed by September.

According to Panelo, Cayetano also brought up how the Philippine hosting of the SEA Games is rife with politics.

Ang nabanggit niya ganito, ‘Alam mo pala, Mr. President, akala ko sports, sports lang. Pero mas matindi pala ang pulitika doon kaysa sa gobyerno.’ Iyon ang sabi niya (He said, ‘You know, Mr. President, I thought it was just sports. But it seems like politics here is worse than in government.’ That’s what he said),” Panelo said.

Cayetano was referring to controversy hounding delays in the estimated PHP5 billion budget for the hosting of the sporting event, Panelo said.

Panelo said the President issued a directive to immediately release the funds for the country’s fourth hosting of the biennial regional sports meet.

“There was a motion there to approve the presentation, as well as to direct iyong pondo na i-prepare kasi mukhang (the funds because) it will put us again in the world map given the fact that 11 countries will be participating,” Panelo said.

The participating countries are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Over 10,000 athletes are expected to compete in 56 sports and 528 events to be held in various venues including the New Clark City Sports Complex in Capas, Tarlac from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 this year.

Earlier, Cayetano assured that PHISGOC remains unfazed by challenges confronting the Philippine hosting of the 30th SEA games and expressed determination to make this event successful.

PHISGOC has been tapping private companies to sponsor the Games and augment its budget.

Philippines last hosted the SEA Games in 2005 when the country emerged as the overall champion. (PNA)

REPRINTED FROM THE PHILIPPINE NEWS AGENCY

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