The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) is appealing the decision of the government to shelve the country’s hosting of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games (SEAG).
The POC general assembly, in a meeting held Wednesday, passed a resolution authorizing its president, Jose “Peping” Congjuangco to seek an audience with President Rodrigo Duterte for the purpose of asking the latter to reconsider a decision withdrawing government’s support to the project.
The resolution, according to Cojuangco, will be submitted to the Office of the President any time from today in time for the national delegation’s departure for Kula Lumpur for this year’s 29th edition of the biennial meet among the best and brightest athletes in the region.
“The SEA Games Federation will be meeting middle of August in Kuala Lumpur where we have to report on whether we are capable of staging the next Games, “ Cojuangco told The Manila Times shortly after the meeting.
“Well, maybe the President hadn’t been informed completely of the significance of hosting the Games in terms of strengthening our relation with our 10 other Southeast Asian neighbors. At isa ‘yun sa ipaliliwanagg natin,” the POC head, a former Tarlac congressman, said.
“We in the POC believed that the gains we expect derive in holding the event here would far outweigh the cost just like what happened the first three times we played host to the Games, “ he said in reference to the country’s hosting of the 1981, 1991 and 2005 where the country gained enormous respect not from SEA Games countries but from Asian and the world as well.
“Hosting the Game here will serve as catalyst for us Filipinos to once again unite like in those years when millions of our countrymen trooped to the games’ venues to watch and cheer our athletes each time they won medals,” he noted.
“I think we, more than anytime, need that these days when we are being hit left and right by one catastrophe after another, including war in Mindanao,” Cojuangco said.
The younger brother of the late President Cory Aquino, denied reports that the POC was asking a budget of P7 billion to fund the hosting.
“That didn’t came from us,” he exclaimed. “Sobra yun. The last time the Games was held here, P350 million lang ang nagasta natin.”