DAVAO CITY - Philippine Sports Commission chairman William 'Butch' Ramirez is no longer in favor of holding events in his city when the country hosts the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, especially given the current situation in Mindanao.
Ramirez reiterated his earlier statements that Manila and nearby areas should serve as the main hub of the 2019 SEA Games in the wake of the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao owing to the unrest in Marawi City.
"We can successfully stage the SEA Games without risking the security of athletes, coaches, and other delegates," said Ramirez.
Ramirez, however, said the final say on what cities will host events in the SEA Games will still be up to the Philippine organizing committee headed by Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri and Philippine Olympic Committee (PoC) president Jose 'Peping' Cojuangco.
Cojuangco had been pushing for events in the SEA Games to be held in this southern city where President Rodrigo Duterte was once the mayor.
"We are here to suggest. We will support whatever the decision they will make," said Ramirez.
Duterte declared Martial Law on Wednesday following attacks in Marawi by the Maute Group, forcing citizens in the city and nearby areas to evacuate.
A PSC contingent was also trapped in Marawi for two days after conducting sports clinics for coaches and young athletes.