The Bacolod-based Ceres Liner of Vallacar Transit Inc. came forward to help ease the tension in the ongoing football competitions of the 30th Southeast Asian Games in Manila, Laguna and Cavite.
Yanson Group of Bus Companies CEO and president Leo Rey Yanson provided 18 new fully air-conditioned buses to replace the smaller tourist buses with non-functional aircon units that triggered teams from Myanmar, Timor Lester, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand to cry foul.
While Yanson fielded the 18 bus units starting only yesterday as it awaited the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to issue a permit first, the transport firm already rescued PHISGOC as early as Saturday when it provided big buses for the Indonesian XI that planed in over the weekend, former DAILY STAR sports editor Cedelf Tupas said.
The 18 blue-colored Ceres buses that ply the Manila-Luzon routes provided by Yanson, are allocated for the 11 competing men's teams, six units for the distaff side and one for emergency cases.
This was confirmed by VTI legal and media relations officer Jade Seballos, who said that the company also provided eight buses for SEA Games police and security personnel.
“This was coordinated through our Ceres Transit Inc. Batangas branch. We did this in support of the Games on orders of our CEO and president Leo Rey Yanson,” Seballos said.
Yanson is the owner of Ceres-Negros Football Club, whose team captain, Stephan Schrock, was tapped to reinforce the Philippine U22 team competing in the SEA Games.
Meanwhile, aside from the poor condition of transportation earlier, the men's football sides also formalized their complaints on the quality and quantity of food at their billeting, availability of bottled drinking water, hotel accommodations, distance of the practice venues, and the unfinished playing venue at the Rizal Memorial Stadium pitch.
Philippine Football Federation president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta said that with the transport issue resolved and the food quality for the women's side already addressed after the PFF sent extra funds to Cavite, the federation can now focus its attention on running the soccer games.
Araneta also thanked the Southridge School in Alabang for offering its artificial pitch as one of the practice venues.
In 2005, when Bacolod City hosted the SEA Games men's football and eight other events, Ceres also saved the day for BaSoc after the transportation committee of the organizing body committed a major blunder of contracting non-aircon buses to ferry visiting athletes from the old airport to their assigned hotels.*
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