SINGAPORE - No less than members of the Southeast Asian Games Federation Council were pressing the Philippines to host the 2019 edition of the biennial meet.
And officials of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) seemed not about to disappoint them.
POC chairman Tom Carrasco clarified the Philippines has not yet officially awarded the hosting rights to the 30th edition of the regional meet, but admitted the country has already expressed its intent following Thursday’s SEA Games Federation Council meeting.
“Wala pa namang official. Actually, interesado si Cong.,” said Carrasco, referring to POC president and former Rep. Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco. “May clearance na kami that we should express interest. Parang letter of intent.”
The possibility of the Philippines staging the biennial meet four years from now came about after Brunei backed out from hosting the event.
Following Brunei’s withdrawal, the SEA Games Federation council members turned to the Philippines as possible hosting site as the country last staged the event in 2005.
“During the council meeting, parang ‘yung mga tao, it was a big, big table, sinasabi nila ‘Philippines. Philippines’ lalo na ‘yung Malaysia. Sabi namin, i-check muna namin kay Cong. Peping. Sabi niya, (mag-submit) ng letter of intent,” said Carrasco, also president of Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP).
POC second vice president Jeff Tamayo attested how SEA Games Federation Council members like the idea of the Philippines hosting the meet anew.
"This is unanimous,” said Tamayo. “In fact, parang silver platter na binigay sa atin.”
Tamayo sees positive things in hosting the SEA Games if the Philippines does becomes the host in 2019.
“Palagi kong nakikita sa ganito na sports unites the country. For me, very positive ang nakikita ko kung kukunin natin,” said Tamayo.