The city government is urging officials in the barangays that will be covered by the holding of the Ironman 70.3 event to address the issue of stray dogs even before the international long-distance race to avoid accidents involving triathletes.
The city government’s call for barangay officials to be diligent on the matter was led by City Tourism Department (CTD) chief Demetrio Alvior Jr. and City Sports Office (CSO) director Rocky Austria, who stated that if an accident caused by stray dogs occurs to any triathlete, it could sidetrack Puerto Princesa’s chances of becoming the international race’s venue again.
According to Alvior, Ironman 70.3 Puerto Princesa is this year’s biggest “tourism event,” and because it falls on the same week as the Subaraw Festival, the city government does not want any untoward incidents.
“Seryoso si Mayor (Lucilo Bayron) na ibabalik natin ang Subaraw — actually, yon talaga ang ni-request natin yong Ironman ay November para part siya ng Subaraw Festival,” Alvior said.
“Ang isa lang naman nakikita sa Ironman, yong safety ng triathletes, at isa doon yong stray dogs. Although yong race course ay ico-close naman, kailangan walang mangyari involving stray dogs. Ang bibilis ng bike, mga 60 miles per hour, kapag may tumawid lang dyan na stray dogs at cats, aksidente talaga. Yon ang ayaw nating mangyari,” he added.
The success of the international event, according to them, will determine whether Puerto Princesa will host it again.
Austria claimed that Mayor Bayron had already scheduled a meeting with the dog pound and the City Veterinary Office (CVO) to discuss the issue and to emphasize the need for them to develop an action plan that will address the problem.
“Una muna, massive information for several weeks for them (residents) to keep their dogs — itali muna nila. Pero kapag malapit na talaga ang race, massive na yong ikot, manghuhuli na yan. Kaya nga dapat advice muna sila na itali na nila to prevent accidents during the event,” he said.
Austria said the Ironman 70.3 Puerto Princesa may also feature colorful contests, like a race for children and a competition for women, which should also be protected from the dangers posed by stray dogs.
Alvior further stated that Bayron is “very particular” about handling the situation, and that he has even instructed the city veterinarian to warn the barangays that the dog pound will handle the situation if they do not comply.
“May ordinance tayo tungkol dito, dinidedma lang ng iba pero dito seryoso tayo kasi international event ito. Kapag may mangyari sa mga athletes, image natin, mukha natin ang nakasalalay dito. Napaka kritikal kasi ang Ironman, malaking kontribusyon sa economy natin,” Alvior stated further.
The international triathlon that will be staged on November 13 is not only expecting over 1,000 participants, Alvior said, as their family members, assistants, technicians, observers, and others, are also anticipated to to travel to the city.
To date, Tiers 1 and 2 for the General Entry and Tier 1 for Team Entry are already sold out.
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