THE Philippines will now push through with the staging of the 30th Southeast Asian Games here in 2019.
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Butch Ramirez and Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose 'Peping' Cojuangco along with Foreign Affairs Secretary Allan Cayetano made the joint announcement on the country's hosting on Thursday at the Marriot Hotel in Pasay.
Secretary Cayetano will also sit as chairman of the SEAG Organizing Committee.
Through the PSC, the government previously decided not to pursue the hosting chores and instead, bared plans to use the budget for the rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi City and other areas in Mindanao.
But a few weeks ago, Ramirez had a meeting with Presidential Management Staff head Bong Go, who re-opened to the PSC chairman about the country pushing through the hosting of the SEA Games if there’s still enough time.
“He (Go) asked me if there was an opening (of the SEA Games hosting) and I said yes,” Ramirez disclosed.
The ball began to roll from there, with Secretary Cayetano, himself a sportsman, personally endorsing the country’s hosting chore to President Duterte.
“Our athletes will have the chance not only to showcase their sports, their talent, but also the new Philippines which we expect in the next two years,” said the secretary.
“And good enough preparation too, for Tokyo 2020.
Cojuangco lauded Cayetano as the one who really convinced Malacanang to pursue the SEA Games hosting amidst the issues concerning security and budget.
“But once the issues are clarified, it became immediate for everyone to agree to continue the hosting in 2019. And I can’t further describe how important this is to our country,” said the POC prexy.
“Although last minute, I guess everybody should be as happy as I am,” Cojuangco added. “This is not for Peping, this is not for secretary Cayetano, this is not for Butch Ramirez, this is for the country.”