SEA Games facilities in Clark to be finished ahead of schedule

NEW CLARK CITY, TARLAC - The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and its contractor assured that the facilities being constructed for the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games are ahead of schedule mere months before the biennial meet.

In an ocular inspection here Friday, MTD Construction Pres. Nico David said that the Aquatic Center, and is certified Class 1A by the International Swimming Federation (FINA), is at "90% completion."

The venue, which is to be used for swimming events moving forward, is expected to be fully operational by August 31.

The 2,000-seat center also drew inspiration from the ingenuity of the Filipino fisherman, blending elements from the baklad, or woven fishnets. Capiz shells, an integral part of old Philippine homes, were also used.

David shared that building a structure of such magnitude usually takes three years, but they were just able to finish it in less than half of that.

Inside the open-air venue is an Olympic-sized pool made of stainless steel, which David says is at par with the pool used for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Meanwhile, the Athletics Stadium, which can hold 20,000 spectators contains natural grass and a track, with the latter earning a Class 1A certification from the IAAF.

Athlete's dormitories will also be finished by mid-August, will feature 2,100 beds, including 310 units for persons with disabilities.

BCDA Pres. and CEO Vince Dizon assured that the venues here will be up and running by their self-imposed deadline on August 31.

With that, he hopes the athletes can use the venues for practice as early as mid-August.

"Right now we can tell you with utmost certainty, all the facilities will be finished ahead of time," Dizon said.

Dizon added that a highway connecting New Clark City (NCC) and SCTEX, which will cater to a large volume of traffic in and out the venues will be fully operational by September.

A road from NCC to Clark International Airport however, won't be opened until 2020.

Situated at the heart of Luzon, the complex will be the first sporting venue to be built by the Philippines since the Insular Government opened the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Malate, Manila in 1934.

It will be a major part of a redevelopment eyed by the national government for a planned community that is being eyed as the city of the future.

Phase 1 of the plan, which include the sports village, government offices and housing, and various facilities, is expected to be finished by 2022.

Eventually, Clark International will be introduced as the country's new gateway, supplanting Ninoy Aquino International Airport.