AS THE one-year countdown for the Philippines' hosting of the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games began in a festive and colorful celebration at the Clark Freeport last November 30, the moment of truth struck us that preparations, in all aspects of the biennial Games set November 30 to December 11, 2019 must already be in full swing.
The 15-meter tall countdown clock, said to be equivalent to a four-story building, was installed at the Bayanihan Park in Clark during the event organized by the Philippines SEA Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) headed by former Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.
The countdown clock showcases the colors of the Philippine flag and its structure also features the controversial 30th SEA Games logo with 11 circles representing the 11 SEA countries - Philippines, Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam and laid out in the likeness and figure of the Philippine map.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, during the countdown celebration, said the activation of this countdown clock represents the optimism for a future that is full of promises. “It symbolizes the common aspirations of our South East Asian family for a stronger regional community that is bound by friendship, camaraderie, cooperation, and teamwork.”
The last SEA Games that the Philippines hosted was in 2005 with the host country winning the overall championship - harvesting a total of 113 gold medals, 84 silvers and 94 bronzes.
But several years later its ranking dropped, trailing behind other SEA neighbors. The Philippines placed sixth in the 2017 Kuala Lumpur, in the 2015 Singapore, 2011 Indonesia and 2007 Thailand editions; seventh in the 2013 Myanmar SEA Games and fifth in the 2009 Laos Games.
The country's hosting, however, should not just only showcase the ambitious infrastructure development program of the government including world-class sports facilities but also boost the morale of national athletes who will be the ones donning the country's colors. We hope all their training needs will be catered and the exposures they need be also granted.
We sure want the Philippines to make it on top again in the SEA Games after 14 years.