BOCAUE, Bulacan—President Rodrigo Roa Duterte welcomed the athletes, coaches and officials from the 11 countries who will participate in the 30th Southeast Asian Games during the opening ceremony at the Philippine Arena in Ciudad de Victoria here on Saturday.
The President, who arrived around 6:30 pm, was met by House Speaker and Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) chairperson Alan Peter Cayetano, Congressman and Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham Tolentino and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairperson William Ramirez upon his arrival at the Philippine Arena, which is the largest indoor stadium in the world.
“I declare open the Southeast Asian Games for the 30th time, celebrating the games of Southeast Asia. Mabuhay kayong lahat!,” said President Duterte, signalling the official start of the biennial tournament that will run until December 11.
His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Negara Brunei Darussalam was seated beside the Philippine leader during the opening rites, throwing his support to the members of his family who are among the thousands of athletes who will see action in the tournament considered as the biggest in the SEA Games history with 56 sports.
His son Prince Abdul Mateen and daughter Princess Azemah Ni’matul are members of the polo team while his other daughter Princess Fadzilah Lubabul is with the netball squad.
The highlight of the opening ceremony was the lighting of the cauldron by torchbearers Senator Manny Pacquiao and world boxing champion Nesthy Petecio at the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.