Philippines agrees to host 2019 SEA Games

Philippines agrees to host 2019 SEA Games
Philippine Sports Commission chief Richie Garcia.
PHOTO: Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN

The Philippines has formally assumed the responsibility of hosting the 2019 Southeast Asian Games without promising to build a new stadium.

Philippine Sports Commission chair Richie Garcia announced Thursday that existing facilities would be used in the Manila SEA Games with the bulk of the events to be held in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

Philippine Olympic Committee first vice president Joey Romasanta earlier confirmed that the POC executive board had passed a resolution accepting the hosting chores for the 2019 Games. He said the POC would officially communicate the decision to the SEA Games Federation, the policy-making body of the 11-nation regional competition.

"It's very hard to make a projection (budget for the Games) because it will happen four years from now," said Garcia. "But we have a general idea as to how much it will cost because we are not going to build any large infrastructure."

Malaysia will host the biennial meet in 2017 with a budget said to be between $180 million (S$240 million) and $220 million. Singapore spent about $240 million in hosting the SEA Games last month.

"We're going to maximise the use of existing facilities that we also used in the 2005 Games here, plus we will approach the (management of) Mall of Asia and Iglesia (Ni Cristo) for their facilities," said Garcia. "We'll use Subic (Freeport) for watersports.

"As far as cost is concerned, I don't think the amount will be that big."

The INC owns a modern sports complex in Bocaue, Bulacan. It features the Philippine Arena, the world's largest indoor multipurpose arena with a seating capacity of 55,000, and a 20,000-seater Philippine Sports Stadium. The MOA, owned by the SM Mall chain, has a world-class MOA Arena and a huge exhibition and convention centre that could hold competitions in several sports.

Romasanta said the POC would soon form the Manila SEA Games organising committee and then ask the President to issue an executive order directing all government agencies to provide assistance.

"With our acceptance (of the hosting job), we're now going to present this to the government," he said. "This is an honour for our country, so I don't think our hosting will be affected by the change of administration."

The country last hosted the Games in 2005 and won the overall title for the first time.

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