PHI withdraws from hosting 2019 Southeast Asian Games
Due to the current situation in Mindanao and the problem of terrorism and atrocities, we regret to inform you that we will no longer push through with the hosting of the biennial meet -- Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez
The Philippines withdrew its hosting of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games citing the current situation in Mindanao and the threat of terrorism as well as the decision of the government to channel its resources toward the rebuilding of Marawi City in Lanao Del Sur.
Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez announced the government’s decision to decline from holding the biennial meet in the country two years from now in a press conference held at the PSC headquarters in Manila on Friday.
“Due to the current situation in Mindanao and the problem of terrorism and atrocities, we regret to inform you that we will no longer push through with the hosting of the biennial meet,” said Ramirez as he read his letter to Philippine Olympic Committee president Peping Cojuangco coursed through POC secretary general Steve Hontiveros.
“It has been resolved that government resources be focused in the rehabilitation and rebuilding of Mindanao especially of Marawi City,” added Ramirez.
The government of President Rodrigo Duterte is still trying to resolve the problem in Marawi City. Terrorist groups linked with ISIS attacked and laid siege on the city since May 23.
Ramirez, however, said that the government is giving its all-out support to the athletes set to compete in the Kuala Lumpur, Malayasia edition of the SEA Games on August 19 to 31 where the PSC allocated around P279 million spending for the country’s participation.
“Rest assure that we would always support our national athletes in their quest for medals and honors in the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur this August until na 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” he said.
“Further, when all is clear and order has improve after the 2020 Olympics and in the future, we are positive and willing to host the SEA Games and any other international sporting event,” he added.
POC has the authority to withdraw from the event but without government assistance and support, hosting such international sports meet would be difficult.
The Philippines last hosted the SEA Games in 2005 where the country won the overall championship with 113 gold, 84 silver and 94 bronze medals.
Since then the country’s performance declined, finishing sixth two years ago in Singapore with just 29-36-66 gold-silver-bronze medal haul.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles