MANILA, February 17, 2005 
(STAR) By Joey Villar  -  Cebu, one of the satellite venues of the 23rd Southeast Asian Games late this year, is planning to hold a pre-SEAG event from April-August as part of the Queen City of the South’s preparations for the biennial meet.

"We will conduct several pre-SEA Games events in Cebu. It will serve as a dry run of the SEAG so that we will know how we will improve in our hosting," said Jonathan Guardo, chairman of the Cebu Sports Commission, after meeting with officials of the seven events it will host.

All seven national sports associations (NSAs) — pencak silat, karatedo, judo, dance sports, sepak takraw, mountain bike and taekwondo — were represented in the meeting also attended by PSC officer-in-charge William "Butch" Ramirez and Philippine SEAG Organizing Committee’s Richie Garcia and Freddie Mendoza.

Guardo, however, clarified that they will not spend that much in hosting these pre-SEAG meets because their main concern is the actual hosting of the Games, which he estimated will cost them some P15 million.

"We’re planning to spend some P200,000-P300,000 for a pre-SEAG event. Mga ganun lang siguro para hindi magastos kasi ang focus namin ay ‘yung actual Games," he said.

The P15 million budget, according to Guardo, will come from the private sector, including the telecommunication companies and mostly from locally-owned corporations, while part of it will be provided by the local governments of Cebu City, Danao and Mandaue.

"Nung una, kami lang talaga ng Cebu SOC (SEAG Organizing Committee), ngayon kasama na namin ang Mandaue, Danao at ang provincial government ng Cebu sa SEAG hosting," Guardo said.

According to Guardo, judo will be the first to conduct a pre-SEAG event in April and will be followed by dance sports the same month, both at the posh Waterfront Hotel. In June, it’s sepak takraw’s turn to host theirs, followed by pencak silat in July and karatedo in August.

Sepak takraw incidentally is hosting a second pre-SEAG meet after it announced a month earlier the staging of its first tournament in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, also in June.

The main hub of the 11-nation conclave slated Nov. 27-Dec. 5 is set in the National Capital Region with Bacolod City as the other provincial venue. Some games will be played outside the metropolis like Tagaytay City and Subic.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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