Malacanang announced on Monday that construction of the National Government Administrative Center (NGAC), including a sports complex for the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, started last January 23.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said PHP13 billion has been earmarked to build the NGAC at the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.
Roque said the NGAC is envisioned to serve as an alternative site for various agencies in case of disaster or national calamities, to ensure continuity of operations and services.
“With its completion in 2019, this will also serve as a sports center and host venue for the incoming 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games,” Roque said in a Palace press briefing.
The construction of the new sports facilities in the more than 50-hectare NGAC was the result of a partnership between the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA).
The Philippine edition of the biennial sporting event is expected to be held in Metro Manila and nearby provinces such as Laguna, Bulacan, Pampanga, and Zambales.
The Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan, touted as the world’s largest indoor arena with more than 50,000 seating capacity, is also being considered as one of the venues for the 30th SEA Games.
The SMX Convention Center and the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City could possibly be tapped as well for some of the indoor sports.
For the fourth time, the Philippines will be hosting the SEA Games in 2019, hoping to snap its skidding performance in the biennial multi-sports meet.
The Philippines emerged overall champion when it last hosted the SEA Games in 2005 when it bagged 113 gold, 84 silver and 94 bronze medals.
The country, however, failed to sustain its lofty place, dropping to sixth place during the 2007 SEA Games in Thailand and had even finished seventh, its worst, in 2013.
In the 2015 Malaysia SEA Games, the Philippines suffered its worst gold medal output at 24, less than half of the 50-gold target, in 18 years.
The Philippines first hosted the SEA Games in 1981 and then in 1991. (PNA)