A ONE-HECTARE lot adjacent to the New Clark City (Sports City) would be developed into a Christmas village, an added attraction for local and foreign tourists who will see action during the 20-day South East Asian Games.
"We're going to build a Christmas village where we can showcase our 'Belenismo' winners, lanterns made by locals and other attractions during night time. So that yung mga athletes na manggagaling sa iba't ibang lugar ay mayroong makikita sa gabi. Sports sa araw, sa gabi naman ay Christmas village," said Capas, Tarlac Mayor Reynaldo Catacutan.
Belenismo is a yearly pre-Christmas competition of different local government units and other government agencies in Tarlac, where participants make a life-size "Belen" displayed in strategic locations of each town.
Catacutan said Capas town is ready in terms of road networks and other businesses vital for the opening of the much-awaited event on December 1.
He said the local government unit is ready to accept the sports facility once it will be turned over by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) on October 15.
"Capas is very much ready in hosting the SEA Games. All roads leading to the New Clark City, also known as the Sports City of the Philippines, have been improved and widened in preparation for the big event," said Catacutan, while giving emphasis on the local government unit's preparation for traffic conditions during the opening day on December 1.
He said the Capas town exit toll gate of the Subic-Clark Tarlac Expressway is being rushed to beat the December 1 opening of the SEA Games.
He said structures being built at the NCC that are near completion are the stadium, aquatic center, government administration building, athletes' dormitory and other vital infrastructures including theme park.
Preparing for the influx of visitors, Catacutan said he already met with various sectors, including businesses and law enforcement to ensure the safety of guests and supervise the smooth flow of vehicles coming in and out of the NCC.
"Aside from athletes from different countries in Southeast Asia, visitors from Central and Northern Luzon will surely visit Capas to witness the SEA Games opening and other attractions in Tarlac," Catacutan said.
Commercial centers will be opening inside the NCC compound complete with coffee shops, burger chains, other restaurants and souvenir shops that will cater not only athletes but also for other people coming here to watch the sports competition, said Catacutan.
The Provincial Government of Tarlac, through the Department of Trade and Industry, will also open a "One Town One Product" stall where visitors can find the best produce of Tarlac, he added.
He said the governor is inviting Pampanga entrepreneurs to open their stalls where they can showcase their top quality products.
"DTI will also open pasalubong centers offering novelty items and best foods for visitors," Catcutan said. (Chris Navarro)