Peping Cojuangco says PH should not waste chance to host 2019 SEA Games
POC chief Jose 'Peping' Cojuangco says the country should not waste the opportunity to host the 2019 SEA Games. Dante Peralta

SINGAPORE - Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco said the country should not waste the opportunity of hosting the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

“For me, kung ako ang masusunod, tuloy,” said Cojuangco on Sunday upon arriving in this progressive nation to support the Filipino athletes in their campaign in the biennial conclave.

The country’s highest sports official believes the country should accept the hosting rights of the region’s biggest sporting event after Brunei backed out from hosting the 2019 showpiece.

The SEA Games Federation Council has been pressing the Philippines to take over the 2019 hosting chores. POC chairman Tom Carrasco hinted the country’s Olympic governing body is inclined to accept the offer.

The SEA Games Federation Council will decide on the matter when it meets next year.

But Cojuangco admitted other factors such as government support will also weigh into the decision on whether the country will accept the hosting rights or not.

“Mahirap naman din sabihin. Kahit papaano, everybody should be involved here. Hindi naman ako presidente ng Pilipinas,” said Cojuangco.

But the POC president admitted hosting the SEA Games will bring a lot of benefits to the country, and declining the offer will do more harm than good to the Philippines.

“Maski papaano, it helps (the country). No amount of PR can beat a sporting event,” said Cojuangco.

“Sayang eh. Lahat nag-aagawan. ‘Eto binibigay na sa atin ito. Kapag tinangihan natin ‘to, talagang sasabihin ng mga tao na may deperensya tayo.”

“’Pag tinangihan natin to, wala tayong pagtingin sa ating bansa,” Cojuangco said.

Cojuangco said that plans to build a national training center in Clark in Pampanga augurs well for the bid to bring the 2019 Games to the Philippines.
He also mentioned the Philippine Arena in Bulacan as a logical competition venue.
The Philippines have hosted the Games thrice — 1981, 1991 and 2005. Competitions in the 2005 edition, where the Philippines finished overall champion for the first time, were staged in Manila, Subic, Bacolod and Cebu City.

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