PHILIPPINE Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William Ramirez has accepted the offer to become the country’s chef de mission for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
Ramirez said on Wednesday he initially declined the offer because he is already able to help with the country’s preparations as chief of the government’s sports arm, but he was given instructions from Malacañang to accept the post.
“Yesterday, I declined the offer to be chef de mission of Team Philippines for the upcoming 30th Southeast Asian Games, which we host in five months. I declined for many reasons, two topmost of these are that I see no need to have a title to help the team, being already involved as the chairman of the government’s sports agency, and delicadeza.”
“Last night, I was given firm instructions which I shall carry out, knowing beyond any doubt that national interest is the primary concern of government, and should be of all,” said Ramirez.
“I humbly accept the chef de mission post for Team Philippines’ 2019 Southeast Asian Games participation,” Ramirez said in his statement he read during a hastily-called press conference on Wednesday. “I accept the challenges of the CDM position, aside from the instructions of my bosses, is to heed the call for help of the Philippine Olympic Committee."
As chef de mission, Ramirez will be on top of the country's preparation for the 2019 SEA Games.
Ramirez accepted the offer amid controversy involving top sports officials, with POC president Ricky Vargas removing top officials from several committees including former POC president Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco as chairman of the constitution and bylaws committee and Monsour Del Rosario as chief of mission for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
“As the sports government arm, we show our readiness to step in, to help in the capacity being requested, and if possible, mediate to make unity happen,” said Ramirez, who was with Vargas during the press conference.
Ramirez called for a truce between the rival groups in the POC.
“Through this, I express my solid support to the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee. We must stand as one.
“I do this in the interest of protecting our national commitment. While we all have our own interests, we are duty bound to prioritize national interest above all. If by accepting, we can start considering peace as an option towards a successful hosting of the SEA Games, then I accept. I pray that all concerned consider a truce and aim to focus on this commitment which we must undertake as a united sports community of a strong and focused Philippines,” Ramirez said.