PHILIPPINE Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose 'Peping' Cojuangco highlighted the benefits the hosting of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games can bring to the economy in an appeal sent to President Duterte.
In a letter addressed to President Duterte appealing the government's decision to pull out as host of the biennial conclave, Cojuangco said the Philippines is bound to gain more in terms of tourism if it decides to push through with the hosting.
At the same time, the SEA Games hosting will be a perfect avenue to promote the country and prove that the Philippines is a safe place to visit, Cojuangco added.
"As such, we wish to endeavor to promote the Philippines as a beautiful place and safe haven for international events. The hosting of the SEA Games in 2019 would be a great platform to show to the world that despite these problems in Mindanao, the Philippines is a generally secure country to play sports and a regional hub for business," said Cojuangco.
The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) recently declined to support the country's hosting of the SEA Games, saying government money needed to fund the hosting would instead be used for the rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi City.
In the letter dated July 27, Cojuangco added the hosting of the SEA Games will be a big boost to the tourism industry and the country's economy as a whole.
"Tourism is a top contributor to our economic stability and growth ... We need the 2019 Southeast Asian Games to help generate more tourism receipts and invite leisure and business travelers from around the world," said Cojuangco.
The POC president said his appeal is on behalf of the Filipino athletes and coaches, and the youth who needs sports in their life.
"Our elite athletes are role models of the Filipino youth. Thus, on behalf of the more than 1,000 high-performing athletes and coaches, and the Filipino youth all over the country whose energy we need to redirect to sports, we implore you to afford the Philippines the best opportunity to project our country as capable host for the Games," Cojuangco added.