MANILA, Philippines – More than just hosting the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, the Philippines will make sure it will be the best in the history of the biennial meet.
That is what Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) chairman Alan Peter Cayetano assured amid rumors that the country is slowly losing its grasp of the hosting rights for the SEA Games.
Reports surfaced earlier this week that there is unrest among sports officials concerning the Philippines' budget and pace for the regional showcase, but Cayetano was quick to dismiss them.
"Tuloy na tuloy ang SEA Games, walang atrasan," he said at a press conference on Saturday, March 23.
(The SEA Games will push through. There's no turning back.)
"At hindi lang tuloy, we have a commitment to make it the best SEA Games ever at makikita ng buong mundo kung ano ang spirit ng isang Filipino."
(And we're not only pushing through, we have a commitment to make it the best SEA Games ever and the world will witness the spirit of the Filipino.)
But Cayetano admitted there are plenty of challenges PHISGOC faces in the run-up for the SEA Games, which will be staged from November 30 to December 11 in various venues.
One of them is the depleted budget, which was cut from the proposed P7.5 billion to only P5 billion.
Cayetano said the budget should be raised to P6 to P6.5 billion, which would make it "more than doable" to host the SEA Games.
"Hindi po totoo na lump sum ang sinubmit namin sa gobyerno. Ang sinumbit po namin sa gobyerno ay itemized na 7.5 billion na budget."
(It's not true that the budget we submitted was a lump sum. What we submitted to the goverment is an itemized 7.5 billion budget.)
"We can do it for one peso, pero ano ang quality ng hosting mo? Do we want the international community to say, 'We want the Philippines to host'?" Cayetano added.
(We can do it for one peso, but what will be the quality of your hosting? Do we want the international community to say, 'We want the Philippines to host'?) – Rappler.com