"The 2005 SEA Games will feature 41 sports in more than 395 events. Metro Manila will serve as the main hub of the Games, though several events will also take place in Bacolod City, Cebu City, Los Baños and Canlubang, Laguna, Tagaytay City, Angeles City, Pampanga, Antipolo City and Subic Bay Freeport."Nearby is the official SEAG logo. (Ugly ain't it?) In Cebu, the warm up ceremonies got underway last Saturday, where the SEAG torch relay was a big hit, as "Mandaue City councilor Carlo Fortuna and City sports chairwoman Cheryl Ouano formally received the official torch from Danao city councilor Boying Rodriguez."
In Manila, Yehey!Sports gushes and gives the details of what to expect on Sunday, November 27, 2005 at the Luneta:
Everything is now in place—from security to production numbers—for the grand and elaborate opening ceremonies of the 23rd Southeast Asian Games at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila.With President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo having a splendid lil War with Mass Media right now, I can't help but wonder if indeed, "all preparations are now in place." Knowing this government and its current priorities, no one can blame me for imagining the worst case scenarios and expressing serious doubts about official pronouncements on security preparedness.. Thousands of athletes officials, and tourists from many countries in the region, along with 300,000 Filipinos are expected for the Opening alone. What about all the other venues, the transportation routes to and from them, and nightspots and districts like Malate, the Makati Commercial Center and the sports arenas at the various other cities? 395 events!
Officials behind the expected 3-hour show went to the Luneta on Thursday to inspect the park and discuss the security details to be employed on Day 1 of the region’s biggest sports spectacle.
All preparations are now in place. Only minor details are to be polished, particularly the security arrangement in the area. But overall, we’re very optimistic about it. We assure the Filipinos and the people of the world that they are going to love the show, that’s a promise,” said Virgilio Nadal, executive producer of the opening and closing committees of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Philsoc). President Arroyo will lead the nation in welcoming more than 7,000 athletes, officials, members of the diplomatic corps and foreign guests in the ceremony that will be broadcast live within the SEA region and around the world.
The local broadcast pool is composed of government networks IBC-13, NBN-4 and RPN-9 and privately owned ABC-5.
Mabuhay Satellite will transmit the broadcast feed to all international broadcasters and will use the Philippines’ first and only satellite, Agila2.
Overall director and producer Maria Montelibano was not around for the visit to the Quirino Grandstand owing to an earlier commitment, but her assistant, noted stage director Robert Tongco, said a dry run of the various opening activities will be held next week to finalize all the details, including the security measures.
“This is an open field, so the organizers are expecting around 300,000 people to witness the event. It’s a security nightmare, so proper coordination is needed among security committee, protocol and secretariat,” said Tongco.
During a coordination meeting at the Luneta VIP lounge, Manila Police District chief Police General Pedro Bulaong assured that security had been planned way ahead of the Games.
He said 5,000 uniformed men are to be assigned to the venue.
A strict by-invitation-only plan will be implemented for guests and VIPs, as Tongco said the stage is intended only for the President and key personalities of the biennial meet.
They better find Dulmatin before November 27. Dulmatin is probably in the top ten most wanted men in the world, with up to $10 million offered for his capture dead or alive. The BBC calls him "the genius of the Jemaah Islamiyah". He's supposed to be in Mindanao, possibly hiding there with Jemaah Islamiyah's top terrorists and ASG's one-armed bandit, Radulan Sahiron, whom you may recall keeps popping up with Dawud and Ahmad Santos in the Julius Babao-Jonathan Tiongco Affair. ABSCBN News reports the results of its internal investigation into that affair here.
FOUR DAY FIREFIGHT WITH ABU SAYYAF
But today is also the third (wrong: fourth day update here) day of fierce fighting between elements of the Philippine military (assisted hopefully by allies from the US and Australia) against a large group of some 300 Abu Sayyaf bandit-terrorists.
I guess I am forced to ask: all of WHOSE preparations are in place for the SEA Games?