THE Philippines is expected to receive the Southeast Asian Games Federation flag during the turnover ceremony after the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games as official host of the 2019 event.
Members of the Philippine delegation attended Friday’s SEAGF council meeting to officially relay the news that the country is pushing through with the hosting after earlier planning to withdraw.
The Philippine government announced the decision only on Thursday.
“This is an answered prayer. Glory to God,” Foreign Affairs secretary Allan Peter Cayetano said on Thursday at the Marriot Hotel.
“Para sa bayan ito,” added Cayetano, appointed chair of the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee.
The decision reversed an earlier verdict, purportedly made by President Rodrigo Duterte upon the recommendation of cabinet members, rejecting the offer of the SEAG Federation for the country to be the site 2019 edition of the biennial conclave.
The decision to push through with the Games, according to Cayetano, is a fitting follow up to the successful hosting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations conference last week.
“Like the ASEAN, the SEA Games Federation, besides providing the avenue for athletes of member countries to meet in competitions, was founded to bring about unity and solidarity among its member countries,” the defeated candidate for the vice presidency in last year’s elections, stressed.
The decision is in accordance to what President Duterte envisioned as the “New Philippines,” according to Cayetano.
POC president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco was very pleased with the decision, noting Presidents Ferdinand Marcos, Cory Aquino and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo rejected advice from their men to withdraw government’s support to the hosting of the 1981, 1991 and 2005 Games, respectively. Those Games are considered some of most successful in terms of organization.
“This a victory for Philippine sports” Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, who, along with Philippine Sports Commission chair William “Butch” Ramirez was in attendance, butted in.
“Actually we are in win win situation here,” Cojuangco said. Saving the SEA Games in itself is already a victory for the Philippines.”