Manila, Jun 20: Amid all the bumps leading to the country's hosting of the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William Ramirez said the regional sporting event will push through in this year.
During a press briefing at the PSC headquarters on Thursday, Ramirez reiterated Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's instructions to hold the SEA Games this year as scheduled.
"I would like to inform the Southeast Asian Games Federation, our brothers and to all Filipino people and to the Philippine sporting world that the order of the President no matter what of national interest and commitment to proceed with the November 30 SEA Games," Ramirez said.
Ramirez, who was recently appointed as Team Philippines "chef de mission" to the 2019 SEA Games, was instructed by President Duterte to keep the athletes focused on their preparations for the biennial multi-sport event.
"He (Duterte) insisted that we expend our energies towards our athletes' preparation for the Games, and that issues of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) to be solved within their ranks," Ramirez said.
"The president has said 'Proceed. No ifs, no buts,'" he added.
Ramirez's statement came after the POC president Joey Romasanta, who assumed the spot vacated by Ricky Vargas on last Tuesday, considered the possibility of pushing the SEA Games back to the first quarter of next year.
Ramirez said he had met with the Philippine Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, who relayed the President's instructions to the country's sports chief.
"The President is aware of the issues but directed us to keep our focus on the athletes and let the others sort out their issues within their ranks," he said, stressing that "We must isolate our athletes from all these issues so they can focus on their mission."
As the "chef de mission", Ramirez said he is also willing to continue to discuss with the national sports associations their SEA Games preparations.
According to Ramirez, 10 associations have already submitted their final list of delegates for the SEA Games before the July 30 deadline.
"This is a very good sign," he said, adding that each PSC commissioner is also assigned to a sport to oversee the national and foreign training of the athletes.
The 2019 SEA Games is scheduled to be held in the Philippines main Luzon island's Manila, Subic, New Clark city, among others, from November 30 to December 11. (UNI-Xinhua)