MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William "Butch" Ramirez has declared that the country's hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games will proceed in November, "no matter what."
This comes after the upheaval in the leadership of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), which saw Ricky Vargas resign from his post as president. Joey Romasanta took over the vacated post and announced on Wednesday that he instructed former POC secretary-general Steve Hontiveros to call for an emergency meeting with the SEA Games Federation Council.
Romasanta also bared that "a lot of work still needs to be done" regarding the SEA Games preparation, and that he is considering re-scheduling it as well as reducing the number of the events.
In response, Ramirez said Thursday morning that upon the order of President Rodrigo Duterte, "No matter what, it's of national interest to proceed with the Southeast Asian Games."
"The problem of the POC must not be a roadblock to the commitment of the president and the national interest," said Ramirez. "We will actively make sure that the whole preparation is in order, together with the organizing committee."
Ramirez, however, said they will not interfere with the ongoing problems in the POC, saying: "I leave it to the POC matters. Kahit mag-elections sila every week, sa kanila po iyon."
Amid the upheaval in the POC, Ramirez said they must keep Team Philippines focused on its mission -- "to win and make the country proud in the 30th Southeast Asian Games, all the problems and issues around them notwithstanding."
Ramirez bared that Duterte is "aware of the issues hounding Philippine sports, and insisted that we expend our energies towards our athletes' preparation for the games, and that the issues of the POC be left to be solved within their ranks."
He then urged the national athletes to "stay focused and keep your eyes on the goal," despite the distractions.
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.