THE Philippine Sports Commission on Thursday remained firm on its decision not to push through with the hosting of the 30th South East Asian Games, despite calls from the Philippine Olympic Committee to proceed but with private sector support.
In a Palace news briefing on Thursday, PSC Chairman William Ramirez said that they would still make the “same recommendations” even if the POC, led by Jose Peping Cojuangco makes an appeal to President Rodrigo Duterte for him to let the Games still be held in the country two years from now.
“I have to respect our partner. Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Senator Zubiri, and myself have made a recommendation to the President and we made… Through the President, ES Medialdea instructed me to—not to push through the Southeast Asian Games,” Ramirez said.
Aside from the Marawi relief efforts, Ramirez stressed that the POC needs to answer for its P27 million in disallowances from the Commission on Audit when the country last hosted the SEA Games in 2005.
“I think we have things that needs to get fixed in the POC, when we last organized [the games] in 2005, they have disallowances from COA—that for us to do a 2019 and it’s not resolved, it would be bad … There is still P27 million disallowance [that is unliquidated],” Ramirez said.
He added that during their visits to provinces affected by the Marawi crisis, among those that alarmed government officials is the sympathy expressed by the children to members of the Islamic State, whom they consider as “heroes.”
Ramirez said that “instead of spending 500 million to 700 million” to host such a big event, the government would “instead spread out the money and use for sports facilities, for sports feeding, sports program, but a special focus for Marawi.”
“Marawi had been asking sports facilities for quite a long, long time. And it has been left hanging that the problem surfaced in our time,” he said.
“We plan to put up a track oval, rubberized. We plan to put up a bleacher. We plan to put up other facilities with Governor Adiong, et cetera. Then perhaps go to Maguindanao, among others,” he added.
On Wednesday, Cojuangco and around 21 heads and representatives of national sports associations gave their approval to the proposal to make an appeal before President Duterte to continue with the hosting of the SEA Games.
Earlier, Ramirez sent a letter to Cojuangco informing them that it shall no longer proceed with their support in the country’s hosting of the SEA Games.
On the other hand, Indonesia and Thailand have already come forward to bid for the hosting of the 2019 Games.
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