Monday, July 11, 2016

Ramirez upbeat on PH hosting 2019 SEA Games in Davao

The Philippines is ready to guarantee the hosting of the Southeast Asian Games in 2019 with Davao City being eyed as the hub of the Games.

Philippine Sports Commission chair William Ramirez Monday requested a letter of guarantee from the Office of the President as a form of assurance to the SEAG Federation that the country would not backtrack on its commitment.

Top Philippine Olympic Committee officials led by POC president Jose Cojuangco Jr., 1st vice president Joey Romasanta and secretary-general Steve Hontiveros are scheduled to leave for Kuala Lumpur Tuesday and hand over the letter of guarantee when they hold a series of meetings with the SEAG Federation.

“Since we handled the hosting before, I personally believe we can do it,” said Ramirez, who stood as PSC chair and Philippine chief of mission during Manila’s hosting of the 2005 Games.

He requested the letter of guarantee that the SEAG Federation needs through Presidential Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.

“I shared the information to the Executive Secretary that we have done this one and I’m positive that we can host it again with the partnership of the private sector and the government,” said Ramirez.

The Philippines captured its first overall championship in 2005, a feat that Filipino athletes can duplicate when Davao plays host to the Games. Manila was the hub of the SEAG back then with Cebu, Bacolod, Los Banos and Subic as satellite venues.

Ramirez cited the sports facilities being put up by the University of the Philippines at the outskirts of Davao City and the proposed sports center at the University of Mindanao as well as the 2015 Palarong Pambansa venue in Tagum, Davao Del Norte.

Ramirez has already asked the agency’s engineering office and PSC commissioner Arnold Agustin for a quick ocular inspection of the proposed venues to assess the facilities.

Cojuangco broached the idea of bringing the 11-nation meet to Davao, confident that it will be received with much enthusiasm since President Rodrigo Duterte hails from Davao City.

“It might be a good plan for the government to host the Games in Davao, but everything will emanate from the President. After all, he has the final say,” said Ramirez.


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