Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Ricky Vargas on Thursday assured that everything is going smoothly and backing out from hosting the 30th Southeast Asian Games, set Nov. 30 to Dec. 11, is never an option.
“Unang-una, matutuloy ang SEA Games. Kakahiya naman tayo kung di natin gagawin ito (SEA Games),” said Vargas following a three-hour POC General Assembly meeting at the Meralco Multi-purpose Hall in Pasig City.
Calling an end to disharmony, Vargas said “Let’s all work together and move forward.”
“As far as the POC is concerned, sports is in place, the manner we conduct the sports is in place, there is no problem with the Southeast Asian games Federation with regard to the sports and the events.”
POC chairman Bambol Tolentino echoed the same sentiment saying the Philippines will not put itself in an embarrassing situation and there is no reason to back out from the SEA Games hosting because “running smoothly ang lahat. Wala naming mga hindrances. Yang budget, lalabas yan, kahit late lalabas yan.”
“Yung mga technical handbook inaayos na, lahat ng competition managers gumagalaw, lahat ng venue and construction sa Clark ongoing. Sinasabi nila Indonesia ready to assume hosting, hindi mangyayari, dahil naka ready na tayo.”
Tolentino said funds from private and Pagcor could fill in the budget gap while waiting for the bulk of the budget allotment from the national coffers. A total of P5 billion is allotted the for the SEA Games hosting, including the preparation and training of athletes under the 56 National Sports Associations that will do battle in the biennial meet.
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Butch Ramirez also said that “there’s no way we’re turning back.”
The government sports chief, along with some noted private sponsors, has even initiated a mini-pep rally for the national athletes set on Tuesday (5-9 pm) at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium and has invited all stakeholders from the POC and Phisgoc so “we can assure the athletes that we back them up.”
“We have to work together. The only solution is to proceed and dispel all doubts. Matutuloy ito (SEA Games).