COMPLEMENTING the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippine Olympic Committee formally appointed Senator Miguel Zubiri as the Chairman of the 2019 Manila Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee.
In a letter signed by POC president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, the POC board of trustees gave its formal appointment to Zubiri to lead the preparation and actual hosting of the 30th edition of the biennial meet in Manila.
Although Zubiri was already named to the post by President Duterte a couple of weeks back, his appointment still needed confirmation by the local national Olympic committee in pursuant to the Charter and Rules of the Southeast Asian Games Federation.
Zubiri appeared to be a logical choice as the senator was a former athlete himself, having practice karate. He is also the biggest proponent of Filipino traditional martial arts, arnis.
He was also the main reason why arnis has been declared the Philippines’ national sport and this early, he’s reportedly pushing for its inclusion in the Manila Southeast Asian Games.
Zubiri is also aware that POC and the Philippine Sports Commission, headed by chairman Butch Ramirez, are not totally in sync due to differences in priorities.
“Mabigat ang responsibilidad at kailangan nating pagsamahin at i-reconcile ang POC at PSC,” he said in previous interview. “Mahalaga na magkaisa sa layunin to hold the best ever Southeast Asian Games and we should ensure the quality of the venues and facilities. Kaya pa naman dahil may dalawang taon pa tayo.”
For a start, Zubiri said he will go to Malaysia to cheer for the Filipino athletes when the Games open on Aug. 19 in Kuala Lumpur. He will be on hand when the Malaysia Southeast Asian Games Committee turns over the hosting to the Philippines during the closing rites on Aug. 30.
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