CAPAS, Tarlac -- Officials of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) said Friday the world-class New Clark City sports complex will be finished in 43 days with no less than President Rodrigo R. Duterte to lead the inauguration of the hub of the 30th Southeast Asian Games slated from November 30 to December 11.
“There is no definite time yet but the President will lead the inauguration in the first week of November,” BCDA president and CEO Vivencio Dizon told the media after a familiarization tour of the sports venues here.
He assured that the construction of the modern sports complex, particularly the Athletic Stadium and Aquatic Center, would be completed way ahead of the biennial meet.
“We can tell you with utmost certainty that all these facilities will be finished way ahead of schedule,” Dizon said.
He noted that once the construction of the 20,000-seater Athletic Stadium and the 2,000-seater Aquatic Center is completed by end of next month, “our athletes can start using them as early as mid of August.”
“We want our athletes acclimatized,” Dizon said.
Patrick Nicholas David, president of MTD Philippines, which was tasked to build the New Clark City Phase 1A, said August 31 was their self-imposed deadline to give them enough time to test new sports facilities before the SEA Games.
“It’s now over 90 percent complete and we will finish these in the next 43 days, which is our self-imposed deadline and have all finishing touches done by mid of October,” David said in media interview.
The Aquatic Center has an Olympic-size pool similar to what was used during the 2012 London Olympic Games. Aside from the 10-lane competition pool, it also has an eight-lane training pool and a diving pool with a five-meter maximum depth and meets the global standards of the Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA).
The Aquatic Center’s design drew inspiration from the “baklad” or woven fish nets of local fishermen, as well as Capiz shells used in traditional Filipino architecture.
On the other hand, architect Royal Pineda said the Athletic Stadium was inspired by the crater of Mt. Pinatubo, the contours of the surrounding Sierra Madre ranges, and the festive details of the “parols” (Christmas lanterns) of Pampanga.
“These are the authentic expression of the modern Filipino sensibility,” said Pineda, who designed the New Clark City Phase 1A.
Aside from the Aquatic Center and Athletic Stadium, the New Clark City sports complex also has two track ovals for warm-up for running and throwing events, an Athletes’ Village that has 2,100 beds, the 1.4-km. Riverpark, and government buildings.
“Our hardworking athletes deserve training facilities that are world-class. We hope the New Clark City sports complex will inspire and motivate our athletes in the upcoming SEA Games,” Dizon said.
He said the facilities of the 200-hectare New Clark City will be the first major sports hub constructed by the government since the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex (RMSC) was built in 1934.
David said over 8,500 workers are currently working 24 hours a day, seven days a week just to finish the construction of the PHP13-billion sports complex ahead of the Oct. 15 deadline. The construction started on March 15, 2018.
"We have to finish this in time for the holding of the 30th SEA Games without compromising the quality of the sports facilities," he said.
Dizon said the SEA Games closing ceremonies would be held at the New Clark City’s Athletic Stadium while the 50-seater indoor Philippine Arena in Bulacan would host the opening rites.
To assure the success of the hosting of the SEA Games, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) earlier donated PHP842.5 million to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) for the renovation of old sports facilities to be used for the hosting of the 30th SEA Games.
Among the facilities to be refurbished using Pagcor funds are the track and football field and indoor Ninoy Aquino Stadium, both inside the 85-year-old RMSC in Manila and the Multi-Purpose Arena at the Philsports Complex in Pasig City.
At least 10,000 athletes from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam will compete in the 30th SEA Games, which the country will host for the fourth time.
The Philippines won the overall championship the last time it hosted the SEA Games in 2005. The event was also held in the country in 1981 and 1991. (PNA)