by Kristel Satumbaga
A “unity meeting” among athletes and officials has been set at the Malacañang Palace on Wednesday to show that everything’s fine as far as hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games is concerned.
Ramirez, who is also the country’s chief of mission to the coming SEA Games, is confident that representatives of each national sports associations (NSAs) and their officials will come to the gathering after the issue on who will take charge in the handling of the event has been settled – thanks to Senator Bong Go and Presidential Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
The Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee, headed by Taguig Rep. Alan Cayetano, will retain its role as the “overseer” of the event.
Several officials of the Philippine Olympic Committee are also expected to show up.
“If we want to win as one, we should embrace a united front,” said Ramirez in a statement.
Each NSA has been tasked to bring along five athletes for the 10 a.m. assembly.
A total of 56 sports will be contested in the meet to be held for the first time in the country since its 2005 hosting.
Ramirez is also optimistic that Thursday’s meeting with key officials will encourage them to move in one direction, while assuring that all dealings that the PHISGOC and the POC will enter with the government through the PSC will be transparent.
Ramirez had also dismissed reports of alleged corruption in the PHISGOC.
“There is no truth to the allegation on corruption,” Ramirez said.
“We assure the athletes and the general public that all decisions and transactions will be done with utmost transparency,” Ramirez added, noting that they are working through the guidance of the Department of Budget Management and assistance of the Procurement Service to ensure that public funds are protected and all disbursements follow existing government rules and laws. (KS)