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Philippines may still host 2019 Southeast Asia Games

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THE Philippine government is reconsidering its decision to withdraw its support on plans for the country to host the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

Foreign Affairs secretary Allan Peter Cayetano has been dispatched to lead talks with officials of the Philippine Olympic Committee on this matter.

Cayetano got his marching orders last Tuesday following a Cabinet cluster meeting in Malacanang.

Consultations with Philippine Sports Commission William “Butch” Ramirez and 2019 SEA Games organizing committee head, Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, gave Cabinet officials a clear picture of what to expect, and the responsibilities involved.

President Duterte was not in the meeting, but his special assistant Christopher “Bong” Go was around to represent him and discussed the matters of the hosting rights with Ramirez.

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“Antayin natin ang sasabihin ni Secretary Cayetano. I requested Secretary Cayetano to speak to Mr. Cojuangco,” said Ramirez following the end of a PSC board meeting yesterday.

Philippine Sports Commission Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez

Secretary of the Cabinet Leoncio Evasco joined the meeting with Public Works and Highways secretary Mark Villar and Transportation chief Arthur Tugade.

“Wala akong problema sa hosting,” said Ramirez during the meeting.

Ramirez added that there is now a 95 percent chance for the Games to be held in the country, now that the talks on the keeping the hosting rights have been reopened.

Last month,  the Philippine government withdrew its support for the country’s hosting of  biennial meet in 2019.

Government officials  that the planned rehabilitation of conflict-ridden Marawi City in Mindanao is its priority.

But, the POC general assembly unanimously voted to keep the country’s hosting rights and make an appeal to President Duterte to reconsider.

Cojuangco then wrote a letter dated July 27, 2017 and appealed for President  Duterte to support the hosting of the 30th SEAG.

In his letter, Cojuangco noted the positive results that could come for  the country in the face of the Marawi conflict.

“Let’s wait for Mr. Cayetano to discuss this. Its good news,” said Cojaungco, who is in Zambales.

The Philippines is set to present its plans for the hosting during a SEAG federation meeting in Kuala Lumpur.

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