MANILA -- The country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games in 2019 is a go as announced by Secretary Peter Cayetano of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Peping Cojuangco and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman Butch Ramirez.

The decision was reached after a meeting between Cayetano, Ramirez, Presidential Special Assistant Bong Go and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.

During the press conference called Thursday morning, August 17, Ramirez expressed that the PSC Board of Commissioners including Commissioners Ramon Fernandez, Celia Kiram, Arnold Agustin and Charles Raymond Maxey welcomed the development and unanimously approved the decision in their board meeting yesterday.

“As a former athlete and coach I do not look at medals as a standard of winning. The teamwork, unity, cooperation and Filipino spirit is the real victory for me,” Ramirez said.

During the announcement, Cojuangco said that the Sea Games is not only for Cayetano or Ramirez but for the country, adding that he is very happy to proceed with preparations for the said event.

“There will always be something that divides us,” Cayetano said, citing that we have the Filipino spirit that binds and unites each one.

Cayetano will replace Senator Migs Zubiri as Chairman of the local organizing committee.

The POC shall confirm the hosting when they meet with the SEAG Federation Council on August 18.

It will be recalled that the government, through the PSC, decided not to pursue the hosting saying that there are plans to use the budget for the rehabilitation of Marawi City and other areas in Mindanao. (PR)