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Make most of SEAG hosting – Ramirez




Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez insisted yesterday that the people behind the hosting of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games should put the country’s interest on top over anything else.

“Why spend (for the hosting) if we can’t perform?” Ramirez said during a press briefing.

Ramirez said the organizing committee must work on the inclusion of sports that will benefit the country’s athletes, a normal practice involving host nations in the biennial sportsfest.

“The government wants us to be on top,” said Ramirez, stressing that while Malacañang advocates fair play, there are facets of the staging the SEAG on home soil that benefits the host country.

In charge of the Philippines’ hosting are Foreign Affairs secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).

In Capas, Tarlac, dubbed as Clark Green City, owing to its proximity to Clark Field, the former base of the US Air Force, has been designated as the main hub of the SEAG that takes place from Nov. 30-Dec. 10.

The last time the Philippines was host was in 2005 when it captured the overall crown.

The final list of sports and events will be known this November.

Meanwhile, Malacañang is rolling out the red carpet for the top performers of the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta when it hands over the cash incentives to the four gold, two silver and 15 bronze medalists on Sept. 12.

The Philippines brought home four golds, two silver and 15 bronze medals. The gold winners include weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, skateboarder

Margie Didal and golfer Yuka Saso and the women’s golf team.

Under the law, an Asian Games gold comes with a R2 million incentive. The POC has also pledged another R2 million while Siklab Atleta Foundation head and Presidential Adviser on Youth Dennis Uy and Philippine Ambassador to Indonesia Lee Hiong Tan Wee have also promised R1 million each.

Ramirez said Malacanang is also chipping in with another R1 million, raising the total to R7 million.

But Saso stands to become the biggest winner since she also was a part of the women’s golf team.

Based on RA 10699, a member of a team event whose members are less than five, gets the same amount in an individual event, making Saso richer by R9 million.