PNP to secure SEA Games athletes extending stay in PH

With the closing of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games on Wednesday, the Philippine National Police (PNP) announced that its units in Luzon and the Visayas have been alerted to secure foreign delegates who are expected to extend their stay in the country.

In a statement on Thursday, PNP spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said police units have been notified by protocol officers of delegations who have made travel arrangements for some athletes, game officials, and guests who wanted to visit other destinations in the country.

This developed as the PNP reminded gun owners that the suspension of their gun-carrying privileges, under the Permits to Carry Firearms Outside of Residence (PTCFOR), is in effect until Saturday in Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Metro Manila, and La Union province.

PNP officer-in-charge, Lt. Gen. Archie Francisco F. Gamboa, ordered the security contingent for the 30th SEA Games to maintain police visibility and readiness to assist athletes, officials, and guests, particularly in the movement of outbound delegates from the games and billeting venues to the airport.

“The mission ends only until after the last foreign delegate has left the country,” Gamboa said.

As the SEA Games officially closed with a grand ceremony in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac, the PNP reported that no major untoward incidents were noted during the entire duration of the games since November 30.

Except for a minor vehicular collision at the North Luzon Expressway between two buses ferrying athletes, no other major incident has been reported to the PNP Command Center in Camp Crame, which has been providing 24/7 real-time monitoring of security-related activities at the SEA Games.

“Just like in the other international events held in the country, citizen’s cooperation and support contributed immeasurably to the success of the 30th SEA Games,” Gamboa added.

Meanwhile, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año lauded the PNP and host local government units (LGUs) for the peaceful conclusion of the almost two-week SEA Games, which he described as the “safest SEA Games ever.”

“We truly win as one. The success of the SEA Games is shared by the athletes, the organizers, and the whole of the ASEAN Community. The handling of security is truly commendable and has contributed significantly to the smooth conduct of a total of 56 sports and 530 events in the SEA Games — the biggest yet in history in terms of number of sporting events,” Año said in a statement.

He added that more than just the medals won by the country’s athletes, the Philippines has proven its capability to host big international events and showcase its hospitality through the cooperation among the police, national government agencies, local government units, private sector, and media.

Año noted that no serious or major untoward incident has been reported that marred the SEA Games, saying it was truly commendable.

He lauded the 27,440 police officers deployed to site task groups during the competitions in three major sporting hubs — Clark, Subic, and Metro Manila — and other areas.

In Metro Manila alone, 18,105 officers secured the competitions; 6,554 in Central Luzon; 1,865 in Southern Luzon; and 916 in La Union.

“We will not rest until all the foreign athletes, coaches, and staff have left the country. We are committed 100 percent to their safety and well-being. Congrats to the PNP for a job well done!” Año said.

Meanwhile, DILG spokesperson, Undersecretary Jonathan E. Malaya, said the success of the SEA Games marks the re-building of the culture of discipline among Filipinos.

“Discipline is integral in any sports. Winning athletes and delegates all exhibited that value burning in them. The fire is even more lit when you do not only think of yourself but the country. They gave their all for our nation’s glory more than themselves. #DisiplinaMuna talaga kung gusto nating makaambag sa bayan (We need to have discipline if we want to contribute to the country),” he said.

Malaya said discipline has also prevailed among police personnel.

Napuyat, nawalay sa kani-kanilang mga pamilya at nababad sa init ng araw, nanguna pa rin sa kanila ang call of duty. Ipinakita rin ng LGUs ang kanilang disiplina’t husay na gampanan ang kanilang tungkulin. (Despite lack of sleep, separation from their families, and staying under the heat of the sun, they performed well in responding to the call of duty. LGUs have also demonstrated their discipline to perform their duties well). We won as one indeed,” Malaya said.

The Philippines last hosted the biennial meet in 2005, where it also bagged the championship. (PNA)

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