PHILIPPINE Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William Ramirez said the country's hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2019 is still in place amid reports that the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) will tap local government units (LGUs) once the National Government will not push through with it.
Ramirez, in a media interview at his office at the PhilSports Complex in Pasig City Wednesday evening, July 5, said: "There was no categorical position of Malacanang that we are canceling (the hosting). Everything is still in order for the SEA Games hosting. Our final meeting was just deferred."
He was pertaining to the supposed meeting of the Manila SEA Games Organizing Committee with chairman Senator Miguel Zubiri and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
The meeting, according to him, had to be moved as Senator Zubiri earlier said he could not make it to the meeting while Secretary Medialdea was attending matters in Mindanao regarding the Marawi City crisis.
Ramirez said there is still no fixed date on the anticipated meeting of the SEA Games Organizing Committee.
"Nagtaka sila bakit lumabas yung comment sa isang newspaper that if hindi mag support ang government, the POC will have plan B and tap the LGUs instead just like what Incheon did. It was not good for some people there (Malacañang) and it was done in bad taste," Ramirez said, adding that the mere fact that President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Senator Zubiri to spearhead the organizing of the SEA Games hosting already showed the National Government's intent and seriousness to push through with it.
He also claimed that he fought for the country to host the biennial Games, seeing Metro Manila as a possible host just like in 2005 SEA Games.
Ramirez said they started initial talks in using the aquatics center being built in Ayala.
Ramirez also projected that if the PSC spent P500 million for the 2005 SEA Games hosting, it might need P7.5 billion to do so in 2019 as other facilities will have to be refurbished, among other major preparations.
He added that Presidential Adviser on Sports Dennis Uy, who is also president of homegrown Phoenix Petroleum Philippines, is very interested in the country's hosting of the Games.