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Philippine Sports Commission chairman William Ramirez. File
Cayetano to call shots for 2019 SEAG
Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) - October 9, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — In many ways, the organizational structure for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games will be different than the one used when the country last hosted the SEA Games in 2005.

According to Philippine Sports Commission chairman William Ramirez, it will be Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, the organizing committee chairman, who will be on top of things this time.

“Secretary Cayetano will be calling the shots,” said Ramirez in a press briefing yesterday morning at the PSC athletes’ dining hall.

In 2005, it was Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose Cojuangco who headed the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee or Philsoc.

While it led to the country winning the overall title for the first time in SEA Games history, Ramirez thinks that someone outside of the POC or the PSC at the helm, in this case Cayetano, will provide huge benefits.

As a government official who is very close to President Duterte, the former senator will have more time soliciting the needed support from the national government and the private sector.

While Ramirez and Cojuangco also hold key positions in the organizing committee, having someone else at the helm will give the two sports leaders more time to focus on their respective jobs.

Ramirez can do a much better job making sure the Filipino athletes are provided everything they need as they prepare for the Games and hope to give the country only its second overall championship.

The PSC will also be tasked to provide the technical support in running the Games.

Cojuangco, on the other hand, can focus on making sure that all’s well within the various national sports associations (NSAs) that will field athletes in the Games, and make sure that the athletes are trained properly prior to the event.

The POC chief can leave all the responsibilities of organizing the Games to Cayetano as long as the former makes sure that the athletes are properly nourished and trained.

“They can have it all as long as I’m in charge of the training of our athletes,” said Cojuangco.

Under the set-up being mentioned by Ramirez, that’s the way things will happen.

“There’s a structure to be followed by the organizing committee but this time it’s not the POC president who will be calling the shots,” said the PSC chairman.

There are a number of committees to be formed, including sensitive ones.

“Number one is yung sa pera (budget),” said Ramirez yesterday.

In 2005, some NSA officials played major roles in the different committees. But the problem here is that they may devote more time running these committees than looking after their respective athletes.

Ramirez said he will not be surprised if Cayetano, the running mate of President Duterte in the 2016 elections, appoints people outside of the sports community to head the committees, including those for budget, security, transportation, board and lodging and food, technical and communications, among others.

Makati Representative and taekwondo official Monsour del Rosario has been designated by Cojuangco as chef-de-mission of the Philippine team for 2019.

“We are just waiting to get a call from Secretary Cayetano, and we can all take this up,” Ramirez said yesterday.

The PSC chief, however, stressed that hosting the next SEA Games is a national effort.

“This is not about Secretary Cayetano or the POC or the PSC but about the entire country,” he said.

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