MANILA, Philippines -- The cities of Sta. Rosa, Tagaytay, and Taguig have agreed to host the training camps of national athletes who will compete in the 2021 Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam this November.
Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Rep. Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino announced the development on Tuesday, a week after Ramon Fernandez, chef-de-mission to the SEA Games, called on local government units to support the national team's cause.
"I called on some of my friends who are willing, 'yung may passion na mga mayors and governors," Tolentino said in an appearance on the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum.
"There are three cities who will be hosting the bubble training of Vietnam-bound athletes. They are Sta. Rosa, which has agreed to host around 50 athletes. Then, Taguig Mayor Lino Cayetano agreed to host volleyball and table tennis," he explained. "And, of course, Tagaytay will host cycling and kickboxing."
Sta. Rosa is likely to host combat sports teams including wrestling, karate and judo.
Fernandez, also a commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), last week asked LGUs to adopt national teams who need to start preparing for the SEA Games, given the limitations of their budget.
Athletes who were seeking to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics previously held a training camp at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna, but Fernandez said they cannot afford to have all national athletes train in the facility in the coming months.
Instead, he proposed a partnership among the LGUs, the national sports associations, and the country's sports agencies.
Tolentino, however, explained that it would be difficult to request LGUs to host the national athletes without an order from the Office of the President or the Department of Interior and Local Government.
In lieu of that, he called on local executives whom he knew would be willing to adopt some national teams and hold a "bubble" in their areas.
"I'm still talking with some other LGUs, mayors and governors. Baka makakuha pa ako ng hanggang dalawa," he added.
Training in Sta. Rosa, Taguig and Tagaytay will start on July 1 and will last until November, Tolentino said.
Other NSAs have the option to coordinate with other LGUs as well. Tolentino noted that the fencing team is already training in Ormoc, while the archery team is based in Dumaguete.
"Sabi namin, as long as payag 'yung LGU, why not? Kasi gusto niyo doon, why not? Pumayag ang LGU, sagot nila, sabihin niyo 'yung mga effects, then go ahead. Pero doon sa iba, wala na po kayong chance na pumili," Tolentino said.
"Whether they like it or not, they must accept na Sta. Rosa ka," he added. "Buti nga may tumanggap. Buti may sumalo, buti may nag-sponsor, buti may tumanggap."
Clark, which served as a venue for the 2019 SEA Games, will also be used by track and field athletes and swimmers.
The 2021 SEA Games is set for November 21 to December 2 in Hanoi.
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