IT’S history in the making for Pampanga as the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) has chosen and affirmed the LausGroup Event Centre as the venue for judo, jujitsu and Koresh competitions of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games on December 1 to 11, a first in the annals of the province and the City of San Fernando. During the formal talks at the equally historic Mt. Pinatubo Room of the Laus Group of Companies corporate headquarters here, PHISGOC Venues Director David F. Carter disclosed that they have decided to hold the martial arts and contact sports competitions in Pampanga and not in Metro Manila due to its proximity to the SEA games main venue at the New Clark City in Tarlac. “The LausGroup Event Centre has very nice facilities and Chairman Levy [P. Laus] is very accommodating. At the same time, the province of Pampanga and the city is free from pollution and traffic. So why should we still bring the events to another venue? Although we were being convinced to transfer it to Manila, it will be here and it is final,” he said. “These events will bring in multiple golds during the SEA games. And news, not only nationwide and Southeast Asia but the whole world as well, will be focused here. In judo, we are looking at five golds, six to seven in jujitsu and Koresh could deliver three to four golds. We are looking at 277 athletes and officials for judo alone. So multiply that by three plus double the number of relatives and supporters of the athletes who will come with them so you have a huge crowd coming to the province and the city which could positively affect the local economy. That is why the help of Chairman Levy and the support of Pampanga and San Fernando is a welcome development because of the budget cuts in the SEA games. And with the accommodation accorded us by officials here, others might take their competitions here, too,” Carter added. Both Vice-Governor Dennis “Delta” Pineda and San Fernando Mayor Edwin “EdSa” Santiago vowed full support for the hosting of the three sports events in Pampanga’s capital city, especially since the dates fall on the timelines of the Pampanga Day celebrations and giant lantern festival. “We are very happy about hosting some of the SEA games events because Pampanga and the City of San Fernando will be known as places for sports development and sports tourism. And since these will coincide with giant lantern festival timeline, we will have the opportunity to showcase the culture of Kapampangans. Definitely, the city government will extend its full support to the SEA games,” Santiago said. For his part, Pineda extended his gratitude to the PHISGOC. “I thank the PHISGOC for choosing the LausGroup Event Centre located in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga as the official venue of the games especially martial arts. It’s a big honor for the province,” he said. The vice-governor stressed that the provincial government would take care of security and other logistical concerns the PHISGOC needs. “We have already committed to take care of security and immediately, I will bring this up with the Philippine National Police. We will extend full support together with the city on other concerns the committee would have as this is history for Pampanga. At the same time, we will make the SEA games events here one of the highlights of our Pampanga Day celebration,” Vice-Governor Pineda added. Meanwhile, Laus disclosed that the LausGroup is prepared to assist the PHISGOC for the hosting of the games. “Practically, modesty aside, the LausGroup has everything from two-wheel vehicles to big trucks. We also mentioned to them that we can provide a helicopter to transport their VIPs as we have a helipad here. That would certainly interest them,” he said. “We are very happy about this. I made sure that they will get very supportive rates for the LausGroup Event Centre in the name of national interest. It’s very historical for the province. We feel we should never miss this opportunity that is why we are supporting them with much enthusiasm,” concluded Laus. (JTD)