By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
The country will be sending 584 athletes and 161 officials to the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam in May.
The figures were arrived at after the meeting among Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Bambol Tolentino, PH team’s chief of mission to the SEAG Mon Fernandez and other key officials of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Thursday.
The number was lower than the 627-athlete delegation that the POC initially set.
Tolentino, however, said 80 athletes from various sports are on appeal, falling under the Group B category where their National Sports Associations (NSAs) will shoulder their expenses to the biennial meet.
“We understand the situation because of the budgetary constraint in the PSC, so we have to employ belt tightening measures as regards to officials and equipment,” Tolentino said.
The PSC is yet to determine the exact budget for the SEAG participation, although Fernandez earlier announced that it is within P200 million.
Team Philippines will fly in two batches aboard chartered flights to Vietnam, with the first batch on May 6 and the second on May 10.
This means the second batch of athletes can still vote in the National Elections set May 9.
They will be divided into four clusters – 1A for Hanoi, 1B outskirts of Hanoi and 2A and 2B outside of Hanoi, including canoe-kayak and rowing in Hai Phong.
Filipino athletes will be competing in 39 of the 40 sports lined up in the hope of retaining the overall championship when the country hosted the 2019 edition.