Duterte opens 30th Southeast Asian Games
President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday night officially opened the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
“I declare open the Southeast Asian Games for the 30th time. Celebrating the games of Southeast Asia. Mabuhay kayo lahat,” Duterte said during the opening ceremony at Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
Duterte welcomed the almost 5,500 athletes and delegates from 11 countries who will compete in 56 events from November 25 to December 11.
He officially opened the SEA Games around 8 pm.
Present during the ceremony was Brunei Darussalam leader Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah whose son and daughter are playing in the SEA Games.
The ceremony began with Filipino ethnic and modern dances followed by the “Flores de Mayo” themed parade.
First to march were Brunei Darussalam followed by Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos PDR, Malaysia, Myammar, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste, Vietnam and last to come out is the Philippines.
Carrying the SEA Games Federation flag were two-time Asian Games 100m queen Lydia de Vega, ex-World Cup bowling champs Rafael Nepomuceno and Bong Coo, Olympic boxing silver medallist Mansueto Velasco Jr., 1991 SEA Games swim stars Eric Buhain and Akiko Thompson Guevarra, basketball ace Alvin Patromonio and billards king Efren ''Bata'' Reyes, who is competing this meet.
After the oath of sportsmanship delivered by softball's Francesa Altomonte and esports' Daren Vitug to athletes and judges, musical numbers followed.
Then on a screen flashed Senator Manny Pacquiao and world boxing champion Nesthy Petecio who lit the controversial cauldron at New Clark City which was recorded earlier.
Despite hitches which occurred a week before the opening, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, chairman of Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisogc), urged the public to watch the athletes and see through them the truth about the SEA Games.
“We play as one, build as one, work as one and we win as one,” Cayetano said.
Duterte and Bolkiah left after the opening ceremony ended at 8:40 pm. Ella Dionisio/DMS