Palace calls for one goal, united front for SEAG

Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - July 25, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Officials from both the government and sports bodies and members of Team Philippines were one in recognizing the importance of putting up a united front as the country hosts and vies for glory in the coming Southeast Asian Games.

Some 300 athletes and coaches along with officials led by Executive Sec. Salvador Medialdea, Sen. Bong Go, House Speaker and Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee chairman Alan Peter Cayetano and Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez met at Malacañang yesterday to call for unity amid controversies surrounding the staging of the 11-nation meet.

“The 30thSEAG, DU30th, this event is not only a testament to the Philippines’ competence in hosting an international sporting event but the culmination of our unity as Filipinos for the benefit of Philippine sports  and the Filipino athletes,” Medialdea said.

“To achieve this goal and engrave our success in our country’s history, I echo the call to set aside differences and join hands in unity to work as one well oiled machinery and provide a hosting of the 30th SEA Games that every Filipino should be proud of,” he added.

The Philippines hopes to be successful in staging the bienniel conclave and in scooping up gold medals, but preparations hit a rough patch as allegations of corruption and lack of transparency in disbursement of funds lodged at the Phisgoc cropped up and a leadership squabble struck the Philippine Olympic Committee.

Ramirez, who is also the delegation head of the Phl SEAG squad, said the government is doing its best to insulate the athletes from the issues and provide everything they need for the mission ahead.

“As the chief of the government’s sporting arm, I am heavily invested into ensuring that whatever the situation and political climate, our athletes are shielded and given the support they need to focus on their goals of victory.” said Ramirez.

“I have to admit that we can keep dreaming but without everyone else here agreeing and putting their head and hearts together, it will remain a dream,” he added.

Go, who is eyeing to chair the Senate committee on sports, assured the public that he will exercise the committee’s oversight functions if there’s corruption in the hosting. He said he cannot allow corruption to happen right under their noses because he also has the passion for sports – like many other Filipinos.

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