Media members refused access to SEA Games venue in Clark
New Clark City (NCC), one of the main venues for the 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEAG), was placed on lockdown on Saturday afternoon, ahead of the biennial meet’s highly touted opening at Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
Erwin Aguilon, Radyo Inquirer reporter, said spectators and members of the media had been asked to vacate the area.
“Venue guards said ‘orders’ were given by the NCC administration,” said Aguilon. “Only employees and volunteers were allowed access.”
Appeal to organizers
More people, who arrived later in the day, were denied access and were told to just return on Sunday.
The lockdown came as local media photographers appealed to organizers of the SEA Games to allow them to cover the opening ceremony of the games held on Saturday at Philippine Arena.
In a statement, the Photojournalists’ Center of the Philippines (PCP) expressed sadness over last Friday’s decision to use Phisgoc’s official photographer only for the opening ceremony.
Phisgoc said the opening ceremony would be broadcast live on television and that they would release the official photos which media outlets could access.
In its statement, PCP said previous SEA Games held here and in other countries “always considered the important role of photojournalists in these events.”
“As documenters of the country’s history, we have been witness and recorders of every event that have transpired here. We owe it also to the people, who is spending for this public event, to be their eyewitness to the Games and preserve this event in images not only for the present but for future generations,” the group said.
Accredited media members
“(W)e appeal to Phisgoc to reconsider this decision by consulting with representatives of accredited photographers and arriving at an orderly way of ‘pooling’ from accredited members of the local and foreign media, which has always been adopted in similar events like this,” it said.
A person closely monitoring the situation told Aguilon that the lighting of the much-talked-about cauldron had been prerecorded. The festivities at the cavernous venue is set to commence at 7 p.m.
Incidentally, a video of a pyrotechnic display from the NCC Sports Complex made rounds on social media on Saturday.
It also showed the controversial structure fully lit.
On Nov. 20, Phisgoc COO Ramon Suzara told the Inquirer that they “want it to be exciting.”
“It’s a surprise,” he said when asked about how exactly the cauldron is going to be lit, given its roughly 90-kilometer distance from Bocaue.
Fans who trooped to NCC have come from as far as Laguna and Isabela provinces, and even from Butuan City in Mindanao, according to Aguilon.
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