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PH bets briefed on security

RIO DE JANEIRO – Members of the Philippine delegation to this Rio Olympics, including nine athletes, their coaches and just a handful officials, gathered at the Pinoy quarters here Friday evening for a one-hour meeting.

Chef-de-mission Jose Romasanta wanted to make sure everybody’s on the same page, from the procedures to be observed in the formal flag-raising ceremony on Aug. 2 inside the Athletes Village to the opening ceremony on Aug. 5 at the Maracana Stadium.

On both events, Romasanta asked everybody to wear their barong.

Romasanta also briefed the delegation members on the steps to be taken in case any untoward incident happens.

“Presence of mind is always most important. Security will always be a problem when over 200 countries congregate. So, be aware and be prepared for anything that might happen,” he said.

Col. Jeff Tamayo of the Philippine Olympic Committee, a security expert and consultant back home, also issued some advice just in case anything goes wrong.

“Never keep your guard down. As we gather at the stadium, we need to identify a safe haven for us, a place where we will meet in case something happens,” he said.

A couple of Filipino coaches, Boy Velasco of boxing and Alfonsito Aldanete of weightlifting, are members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and should know the procedure. “We remind the coaches to also take care of the athletes,” Romasanta said.