THE country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games started to blaze its final month countdown with the Torch Relay kick off run witnessed by thousands of athletes, sports and government officials and students at the SM Lanang in Davao City on Wednesday.
Three of Davao’s very own top athletes—world boxing champion Nesthy Petecio, waterski ace Mikee Selga and sambo expert Sydney Tancontian—joined Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go in the solemn ceremony that signaled the fast-approaching Games the country is hosting in multiple venues from November 30 to December 11.
Go called on the youth to emulate Petecio, Tancontian and Selga—all of who put Davao on the world sports map.
“They are out superstars, our inspiration, especially that all of them are probinsyano,” Go said. “Like us, they are all proud children of Davao.”
Also present were Davao City Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte, Presidential Adviser for Visayas Secretary Mike Dino and Philippine Sports Commission Commissioners Charles Maxey and Celia Kiram.
The Torch Relay will have its second leg in Cebu City on November 15 and will culminate on November 23 at the New Clark City in Tarlac.
Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) Director Jojit Alcazar and Philippine Olympic Committee Executive Board Member and Gymnastics Association of the Philippines President Cynthia Carrion were also present.
Joining them was Nestlé Philippines-Milo Assistant Vice President Lester Castillo. Milo is a gold sponsor of the Games.
“Hope is most evident in the story of every athlete competing…we win stronger and bolder when we come together despite our many differences,” Alcazar said. “We look beyond what sets us apart and celebrate what binds us together: our heart for sports and our heart for our region.”
The Phisgoc, meanwhile, assured that the Games will go on uninterrupted after information systems giant Atos filed a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the organizing body, PSC and POC.
Atos was originally tapped to run the information and results system of the Games, but lost to another company after the government imposed its strict policy on bidding.
Phisgoc Legal Director and Spokesman Atty. Jaries Osias said they are prepared for any circumstance as the bidding was held “under government procurement rules.”
“The matter is currently subject of a pending Court case. Our legal counsel advised us that we can’t comment any further, except that there is no TRO or injunction by the court to date, which means there is no legal obstacle for the SEA Games Information Management System to proceed as schedules,” Osias said in a Phisgoc statement.
“Given that the reputation of the Philippines is at stake in hosting the 30th SEA Games and that the government through the DBM [Department of Budget and Management] strictly followed the procurement rules,” he said.
“We are prepared to defend this monumental event against those who believe they are above the law or exempt from legal requirements,” he added.