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It’s embarrassing to cancel hosting

The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) stands to lose its face before the Southeast Asian Games Federation Council owing to the sudden decision of the government to pull out of its hosting of the 2019 SEAG in light of the Mindanao crisis.

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POC Secretary General Steve Hontiveros yesterday said that the country will look embarrassed before fellow SEA nations if it doesn’t save the hosting.

“Kahiya-hiya tayo,” said Hontiveros, stressing that a last-ditch effort is underway soon as the POC Executive Board is set to discuss the matter during its General Assembly tomorrow afternoon at Wack Wack.

POC president Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco Jr. is expected to get the majority of national sports associations to agree that hosting the 2019 SEAG is of paramount importance.

“If we get the majority, then the POC will appeal to the President,” said Hontiveros.

Thailand and Indonesia are willing to bear the burden of saving the 2019 edition.

Malaysia, host of the 29th edition that kicks off next month, has been pressuring the POC about the issue since a formal handover is on tap during the Aug. 30 closing rites.

“(If the Philippines stands firm in not hosting) it could be the first time without a (formal) turnover,” said Hontiveros.

It was the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) that announced the government’s decision to cancel the 2019 hosting with chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez telling the media late last week that the government has decided that resources should instead be used to help rebuild Mindanao and strengthen the fight versus terrorism.