SEA Games on as planned, as scheduled
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - June 21, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Carrying marching orders from President Duterte, Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez yesterday said the government is ready to play its role in the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games set Nov. 30-Dec. 11.

Ramirez, who also serves as chef de mission of Team Philippines, said the President has instructed him to exert all efforts to make the SEA Games a success amid distracting issues besetting the Philippine Olympic Committee.

“I’d like to inform the SEA Games Federation, our brothers, all the Filipino people and the Filipino sporting world, that the order of the President, no matter what, is to proceed with the Nov. 30 SEA Games,” said Ramirez, who received the presidential instructions through Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea in the wake of the leadership change at the Philippine Olympic Committee.

The Olympic body is on a transition as its president Ricky Vargas stepped down last Tuesday, five months before the scheduled staging of the SEAG. POC first vice president Joey Romasanta assumed the presidency per rule of succession but POC chairman Bambol Tolentino said he would call for a special elections to vote a new president  who “meets the qualifications.”

“The problem of the POC must not be a roadblock to our commitment to the SEA Games and national interest,” Ramirez said. “Sabi ng Presidente, tuloy ang hosting, national commitment yan. Yung problema ng POC i-solve nila yan. Meanwhile, i-isolate natin ang atleta at ibuhos sa kanila ang suporta.”

With the Chief Executive already making his intention known, Ramirez said he finds no reason to move the SEA Games back to first quarter of next year, as some quarters were proposing.

“The President said, ‘Let’s proceed, no ifs, no buts,’” the PSC top brass said.

“The most important thing is, may pera tayo, may pera ang PSC, may venues tayo, may atleta tayo, may uniporme and all those things,” he added.

According to Ramirez, Duterte wants the athletes shielded from whatever’s happening at the Olympic body and well taken care of.

“President Duterte has instructed this humble servant to make every effort to keep Team Phl focused on their mission – to win and make the country proud in the 30th SEA Games – all the problems and issues around them notwithstanding,” he said.

“He (Duterte) is aware of the issues hounding Philippine sports and insisted that we expend our energies towards our athletes’ preparation for the Games, and that issues of the POC be solved within their ranks,” he added.

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