Traffic ‘really going to be a challenge’ during SEA Games – Cayetano

Mara Cepeda
Traffic ‘really going to be a challenge’ during SEA Games – Cayetano
Expect Metro Manila traffic to get worse when the country's SEA Games hosting goes full swing late this year



TARLAC, Philippines – Brace for heavy traffic around Metro Manila once the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games goes full swing in November.

Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, chairperson of the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC), said there are thousands of athletes, coaches, and spectators set to participate and watch the different tournaments. 

Dito sa Southeast Asian  Games, ‘pag na-control mo nga ‘yong traffic para sa atleta at coaches, paano naman ‘yong mga manonood? Alangan namang ipapa-commute natin sila ng 3 to 4 hours para manood ng one-hour game, ‘di ba? It’s really going to be a challenge,” he said in an interview in New Clark City on Wednesday, October 16. 

(Here in the Southeast Asian Games, you may be able to control the traffic for the athletes and coaches, but how about the spectators? We can’t make them commute for 3 to 4 hours to watch a one-hour game, right? It’s really going to be a challenge.)

A bulk of the sporting events in the SEA Games will be held within Metro Manila. Athletes from 56 sports will be competing in the Makati Coliseum, Starmall EDSA, Filoil Flying V Center, Manila Hotel tent, PICC forum, Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, Mall of Asia Arena, SM Mall of Asia skating rink, SM Megamall ice rink, World Trade Center, and the Philsports Arena. (READ: LOOK: 2019 SEA Games schedule, venues)

New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac – which Cayetano and other lawmakers inspected on Wednesday will be the main hub of the SEA Games. The 9,500-hectare sports complex will host the centerpiece sports – athletics and swimming.  (READ: LOOK: New Clark City Sports Complex ‘on track’ for 2019 SEA Games)

The International Broadcast Center, meanwhile, is located in Clark, Pampanga.

Cayetano said the Presidential Security Group is currently studying the proposal to close off special lanes in major roads for the exclusive use for the SEA Games. 

PHISGOC is also checking if declaring holidays in certain Metro Manila cities would be necessary. 

Remember, we have to treat the athletes well at ayaw na ma-accuse na na-hassle sila kaya naapektuhan ang performance nila. We have to show the 10 other countries participating ‘yong Filipino hospitality,” said the PHISGOC chair.

(Remember, we have to treat the athletes well and we don’t want them to accuse us of affecting their performance by giving them a rough time. We have to show the 10 other countries our Filipino hospitality.)

“On one sense, we are competitors, right? We want to win as one. We want to be the overall champion. But we want to win it fairly and squarely. So the preparations, especially for the athletes, coaches, and technical officials are crucial,” he added in a mix of English and Filipino.


TV broadcasting an issue too

Cayetano also admitted that broadcasting all 56 sports and 530 events in 44 venues across the country remains a problem for PHISGOC due to lack of equipment. 

Broadcast is also a challenge, ‘di ba? Sa napakaraming sports at napakaraming events (Broadcast is also a challenge, right? There are so many sports and so many events). We don’t even have enough TV cameras in the country to cover all of them,” said the Speaker.

He said PHISGOC is currently “turning to social media [and] digital channels to help us.”

Of course ‘yong mga paboritong sports na parating may sponsor sa private sector, mako-cover ‘yan. ‘Yong iba, mala-live pa. Pero the challenge is really to cover, if not most, then all of the sports,” said Cayetano.

(Of course the favorite sports that always gets sponsors from the private sector will be covered. We can even broadcast some of them live. But the challenge is really to  cover, if not most, then all of the sports.)

He said plans are already in place to broadcast highlights of sporting events that would not be shown live. 

Cayetano and Senator Bong Go led a group of lawmakers in inspecting the venues in the New Clark City Complex, whose construction is “right on schedule.” –


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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.