POC, not Duterte, to decide if military tapped for future SEA Games: ex-sports official

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 29 2019 05:03 PM | Updated as of Nov 29 2019 06:44 PM

MANILA - Early glitches in the Philippines’ hosting of the Southeast Asian Games convinced President Rodrigo Duterte it would be better to tap the military to handle the logistics the next time the country organized the regional meet.

But bringing in the armed forces is not for a host country’s political leader to decide, according to Cristy Ramos, former president of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).

That job falls on the National Olympic Committee, a private non-governmental organization, and in the Philippines’ case, the POC, she said. 

The POC is answerable to the Southeast Asian Games Federation, which “owns” the event, she added.

“So in that sense really, it is not for the host country or any other country to dictate, for example, ‘Oh we’re going to have the military to organize and manage this thing,’” she told ABS-CBN News. 

”If the president says he wants the military to manage it, unless the Philippine Olympic Committee asks for the military to manage it, then these other outside entities cannot just control, manage, and conduct these events.”

Organizers were beset with complaints of supposedly inadequate hotel food, poor accommodation, unfinished venues, and uncomfortable transportation, days before the SEA Games.

Duterte on Thursday told reporters that such issues “should be handled by the military,” adding that soldiers were “better organizers.”

The SEA Games Federation’s charter showed that the regional sporting event is the “exclusive property” of the group.

The federation “owns all rights relating thereto, in particular, and without limitation, the rights relating to their organization, exploitation, broadcasting and reproduction by any means whatsoever,” according to its rules.