PHILIPPINE Sports Commission’s (PSC) Ramon Fernandez said the Philippine Olympic Committee forced the PSC to withdraw its support for the hosting of the Southeast Asian games in 2019.

The PSC, through chairman Butch Ramirez, told the POC in a letter last Friday that “due to the current situation in Mindanao and the problem of terrorism and atrocities” it would no longer push through with the hosting of the biennial event.” The PSC added that government resources would instead be focused on the rehabilitation and rebuilding of Mindanao, especially Marawi.

Last year, the POC announced it wanted most of the events to be hosted by Davao City.

Fernandez told SunStar Cebu that while reallocating funds for Marawi City’s rehabilitation is a legitimate reason, it was the insistence of POC to have the sole management of the Sea Games 2019 that turned the PSC off. Malacañang appointed Senator Miguel Zubiri and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and chairman William “Butch” Ramirez to oversee the hosting.

“Chairman Butch doesn’t want what happened in 2005. It was really the insistence of POC to chair all positions and leave the government looking from the outside in. That cannot be, not again, as what chairman Butch said to me,” Fernandez said.

The Philippines last hosted the SEA Games in 2005, when it won the overall title.

“POC wants to control the finance, security and the conduct of the games, which we think isn’t doable because of what happened in 2005. This is the consensus of Malacañang, the PSC should take care of the finances because the money comes from us and it would be easier to liquidate if it’s the PSC that will be the one disbursing the funds. As for security, we have Gen. Bato (de la Rosa), who can take charge. The POC can manage the games because that is their bailiwick. But no, the POC wants it all, so we backed out. Instead, the money would be used for a better cause,” Fernandez added.

Funds for the 2005 hosting haven’t been fully liquidated until now.

Fernandez also said that the talks between the PSC and POC on the hosting of the games did not even reach the financial aspect as these were stalled early and the overseeing committee decided to cut ties with POC while they were still on the issue on who would chair important committees.

“The discussion never reached the point of how much financial assistance the hosting would need. First stage pa lang, yabo na. There is a chance the decision might change, but it’s up to the POC. But knowing Peping, who is used to getting all that he wants, I doubt it. The Philippines is still the host, only they won’t get support from the government. This is a private affair, the SEA Games is a private affair, the POC is a private institution, so maybe they can come up with a Plan B,” the four-time PBA MVP said.

Earlier this month, POC announced that they have a Plan B in case the government won’t support the hosting of the Southeast Asian Games in 2019, which was originally assigned to Brunei-Darussalam. (RCM)