The Philippines has given up its hosting rights of the 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) in 2019 in order to divert the funds intended for the holding of the biennial meet to the rehabilitation of the battle-ravaged city of Marawi.
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William Ramirez made the announcement on Friday by reading part of his letter to Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose Cojuangco Jr. dated July 19.
“Due to the current situation in Mindanao and the problem of terrorism and atrocities, we regret to inform you that we will no longer pushed through with the hosting of the biennial event,” Ramirez said during the news conference at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Vito Cruz, Manila.
Ramirez then promised support to all national athletes that will compete in the upcoming 29th SEA Games on August 19 to 30 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“When all is clear, and peace and order had improved after the 2020 Olympics and in the future, we are positive and willing to host the SEA Games or any other international sporting events,” read Ramirez’s closing remark in his letter.
Meanwhile, POC secretary Steve Hontiveros told The Manila Times that the POC board has yet to convene on the issue.
“We have to take it up (to the POC board) then we have to report this to the SEA Games Federation. This is collegial. So, we have to consult the board and that is normal,” Hontiveros said.
He added that reversing the order from the Office of the President is not an easy task.
“No matter what, how can you contradict an order form the President? If we want to push through, you have to coordinate it again with the government to reverse their withdrawal but again, that is not easy,” concluded Hontiveros.