PASAY City, Philippines – Amid a seemingly unending controversy that surrounds the hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Game), the governing body of the biennial games has thrown its full support to the Philippine Organizing Committee.
On the eve of the opening of the 12-day event, the SEA Games Federation showed its unanimous support to the Philippines on its meeting held at the Quest Hotel Clark, Pampanga on Nov. 29.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the 11-member countries and presided by POC and SEA Games Federation president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino with Executive Committee chairman Celso Dayrit.
All 11 National Olympic Committees showed their strong and unanimous support to the Philippines.
“As the immediate past host of the SEA Games, we understand what you are going through and we express full support for all your efforts especially as this is the biggest (competition) ever, with record-breaking 56 sports events,” said Malaysian NOC President Mohamad Norza Zakaria. Malaysia hosted the 2017 edition, where the Philippines settled for 6th place.
Usually, SEA Games only caters to a maximum of 36 events, but with the addition of 20 sport, the Philippine SEA Games 2019 is now considered as the trailblazer and a barometer for the next competitions to come.
“This hosting is historic and I commend my good friend President Tolentino for his pioneering effort in getting all these sports in the Philippine SEA GAMES,” added Indonesian NOC President Raja Sapta Oktohari. Indonesia hosted the 2011 event.
Meanwhile, Philippine Sports Commission Chairman and Team Philippines Chef de Mission William “Butch” Ramirez is appealing to the Filipino people to unite and support the Philippine athletes.
“Mga kababayan, magkaisa tayo para sa ating bansa, wala na tayong ibang bayan kundi Pilipinas lang. Can we focus and get united for these 11 days to support our Team Philippines in the biggest fight of their lives, for honor and glory of our dear motherland,” Ramirez said.
A colorful and vibrant grand in-door Opening ceremony awaits the nation at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan despite the threat of Typhoon Tisoy.
Star-Studded artists and singers will entertain the live and TV audience, highlighted by the surprise appearance of celebrities and President Rodrigo R. Duterte who will personally open the games and the lighting of the controversial P55M cauldron that was designed by the late national artist Bobby Manosa, which will be lit by Boxing superstar and senator Manny Pacquiao./RCM