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Security tights as Ilagan hosts int’l sports events

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CITY OF ILAGAN, Philippines- The whole Cagayan Valley region is now under red alert days before the city of Ilagan hosts two international sporting events.

In an interview, city councilor Jayve Diaz, chairman of the Committee on Sports Development and the spokesperson of the events, said the city is now 99 percent ready for the Southeast Asia Youth Athletics Championship and the 2017 Ayala Philippine National Open Invitational Athletics Championships on March 27 to April 2.

Security tights as Ilagan set to host international sports events. Photo by Raymon Dullana

Both of the events are organized by the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA), who said this is their first time to host international sports events outside Metro Manila.

Councilor Antonio Montreal Jr said over a hundred police have already been deployed to secure the venue of the events, including the hotels of the foreign delegates.

“There are now police officers in Nueva Vizcaya to secure the entry of the athletes who will travel by land. The airports of Tuguegarao and Cauayan have already set security measures,” Montreal said.

Montreal added that the Armed Forces of the Philippines will also be deploying armed soldiers as contingency measures. K-9 units were also deployed.

‘99% ready

“According to [Mayor Evelyn Diaz], as of now we are 99 percent prepared for these events. And for the accommodation of all the delegates, the hotels, food are all ready. All athletes, coaches, officials of PATAFA will be billeted to all hotels,” Diaz told Forum.

Diaz said they are hoping to lead a “good example” that Philippines can host international events even outside Metro Manila “to see the beauty of the countryside.”

He said the PATAFA had certified that the sports facilities met international standards, qualifying them to host the events.

While the city had suffered the wrath of Super Typhoon Lawin (international name: Haima) on October last year, Diaz said they immediately passed for resolution to rehabilitate the sports facilities months before the events.

“We know how our city and province suffered from Typhoon Lawin, that was very strong and many of our facilities were destroyed. And in weeks, we went full force to do magic and to rehabilitate the facilities,” Diaz said, adding that the city have spent over P25 million for hosting the event.

Diaz said these hosting brought people in Ilagan together to show the hospitality of Filipinos.

He said close to a thousand of delegates is expected to arrive in the city before Sunday, March 26, just in time for the grand opening ceremonies on the same day.

Athletes will arrive via airports in the cities of Cauayan and Tuguegarao. Both cities have agreed to “accord a grand welcome to delegates coming in.”

The PATAFA had confirmed the attendance of athletes from Brunei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iraq, Malaysia, Sabah Malaysia, Sabah Kinabalu, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Timor Leste, and the Philippines.

Diaz said the province of Isabela and neighboring municipalities have also “wholeheartedly” gave their support for the events.

He said one of the reasons their city was chosen was because they were awarded the Most Child-friendly Component City by President Rodrigo Duterte. –Northernforum.net

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