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Over 20,000 people to attend SEA Games opening

Over 20,000 people are expected to participate and attend the opening of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan on Saturday evening.

Quoting event organizers, Mav Gonzales said in her report on GMA News' Balitanghali Weekend on Saturday that the SEA Games opening ceremony will be held indoors for the first time.

"This is a thing of a different type of opening ceremony that [has] never [been] done before. So let’s look into this as a very historic and memorable opening ceremony," PHISGOC chief operating officer Ramon Suzara said.

President Rodrigo Duterte will be attending the event. Other world leaders and royalties, including Brunei Sultan and Prime Minister Hassanal Bolkiah, are also expected to attend.

Due to the prominent figures attending the event, security will be tightened both inside and outside the arena.

According to the Bulacan Provincial Police, more than 2,000 police officers will monitor the area. The figure does not include security personnel from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, PDRRMO, and the Presidential Security Group.

Event goers must also use point-to-point (P2P) buses designated by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) at various pick-up points to reach the avenue, since cars, as well as bags, are not allowed inside.

FULL COVERAGE: 30th Southeast Asian Games on GMA News Online

"Only those with vehicle access and parking permit are allowed to enter the Philippine Arena for security reasons. Number two, to minimize traffic congestion," an officer said.

According to a separate Balitanghali report by JP Soriano, bus passengers will have to undergo many layers of inspection before boarding as items such as sprayable liquids, sharp objects, vape, video cameras, umbrellas, placards, bottled water, and food were not allowed.

After the inspection, passengers can then buy a one-way ticket which costs P100 each.

Though only those with tickets for the opening ceremony may enter the arena, Speaker and PHISGOC chair Alan Peter Cayetano had previously announced that tickets for sports games were free except for basketball, football, and volleyball as these were all sold out.

However, Cayetano clarified that people still needed to acquire tickets to watch the games.

"Baka dumiretso kayo sa venue at pumila, hindi po doon ang ticketing. Alloted general admission tickets can be distributed to residents of respective local government units having jurisdiction over particular venues," Cayetano said.

Those who have previously bought tickets will not be given a refund. — Joahna Lei Casilao/MDM, GMA News