AMID the leadership issue and controversies surrounding the national Olympic committee, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Butch Ramirez said he and his office were given instructions by Malacañang to help ensure that country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games pushes through later this year.
Meeting members of media in a press conference at the PSC premises in Manila on Thursday, Mr. Ramirez said that President Rodrigo R. Duterte is fully aware of the issues hounding Philippine sports and asked the PSC to expend its energy to help ensure that the SEA Games will proceed as scheduled and with Filipino athletes taken care of in their preparations and isolated from the issues in the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).
“The SEA Games will push through. That’s a national commitment. That’s the order of the President,” said Mr. Ramirez.
“Will do our part and help support our athletes while there are problems in the POC. We were instructed to let POC settle issues within it among its members,” he added.
Yesterday’s PSC press conference came on the heels of the leadership change at the POC, following the surprise resignation of Ricky Vargas as president on Tuesday.
The move threw questions over the country’s preparations for the hosting of the SEA Games from Nov. 30 to Dec. 13.
POC first vice-president Joey Romasanta has assumed the presidency upon the exit of Mr. Vargas.
In a statement, Mr. Ramirez reiterated his call for unity among local sports leaders, setting aside differences, personal or otherwise, to ensure that consensus and well-thought-out decisions on the SEA Games, and Philippine sports in general, can be made moving forward.
He also encouraged athletes not to be discouraged with this latest episode and continue preparing to reach their objectives.
“We are behind you and beside you,” Mr. Ramirez said to the athletes in the statement. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo