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Bicol Strengthens Bid to Host SEA Games

Naga City has been lined up as one of the possible venues of the Philippine hosting of the 2005 South East Asian Games, City Councilor and BAP deputy secretary general Jun Lavadia said last Friday.

The city's intention to host the games was first floated during the city's hosting of the 2002 Palarong Pambansa where a big streamer was displayed requesting the support of guest speaker President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and other national sports officials to give Bicol a chance to host the 2005 SEA Games.

Last December 2002, the city government formalized its bid by submitting to the Philippine Olympic Committee the necessary tenders and audio-visual materials for evaluation and study by the SEA Games organizing committee.

The bid highlights Naga's and Bicol's capability and readiness to host the games.

Lavadia also said that our chances to host the games would become brighter if in 2004 we shall have a new Bicolano president, referring to presidential contender Raul S. Roco. Nonetheless, Naga and Bicol have set its mind to be prepared for the games in 2005 in the light of other interested bidders such as Manila, Cebu, Iloilo, Lanao del Norte, Clark Pampanga and Socsargen, Lavadia said.

The city councilor disclosed that the Naga City Government would soon call a meeting among the provincial governors and city mayors in Bicol to strengthen the regions bid to host the games.

According to a newspaper report last week, the national government will have to spend roughly P1.5 billion to construct or refurbish the main venue of the SEA Games.

Executive Secretary Alberto Romulo chairs the Philippine SEAG organizing committee. It is reportedly mapping out strategies and plans this early to raise the needed amount.

One such strategy, is to request all legislators to set aside at least one percent (1%) of their pork barrel every year until 2005.

The organizers said there is a need to build a warm-up pool and a modern stadium large enough to meet Southeast Asian Games standards.

It has been decided that the SEA Games 2005 will have sub-sites (sattelite sites) aside from whichever is chosen as the main venue as what Malaysia did in the 2001 edition of the SEA Games.