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Palace won’t change decision – Ramirez

The failure of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) to explain and justify disbursements amounting to P27 million and its unresolved spending woes stretching back 12 years ago are reasons why Malacañang has decided not to proceed with Manila’s hosting of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez, speaking in a forum at Malacañang yesterday, that while the war in Mindanao also played a factor in the decision to withdraw the hosting, the POC’s inability to convince the Commission in Audit over the money spent during Manila’s hosting of the 2005 SEAG proved to be the main reason.

“May mga bagay din na dapat ayusin sa POC, meron silang dapat sagutin sa COA,” said Ramirez, noting that the absence of world-class facilities and the Marawi crisis as two other factors.

It was Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea who made the recommendation that the hosting be pulled out after conferring with the PSC and Sen. Migs Zubiri, who was supposed to chair the 2019 SEAG organizing committee.

POC president Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco told the General Assembly on Wednesdaythat efforts are underway for the POC to meet with President Rodrigo Duterte so he can be enlightened about the hosting.

Ramirez said that the POC’s several financial request during the previous PSC administration that was not properly liquidated, contributed to the decision to withdraw the hosting.

The POC stressed that pulling out of the 2019 hosting will only paint a bad image of the country with secretary general Steve Hontiveros adding that the Philippines will lose face before its neighbors.

Still, Ramirez, informed about the POC’s plans to appeal the decision to the Chief Executive, hinted that the effort is bound to fall on deaf ears.

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