SOME 80 sports leaders from 10 countries of the Southeast Asian region arrived yesterday for the first meeting of the SEA Games Federation with host Philippines today and tomorrow at the Bonifacio Global City.
Philippine Olympic Committee President Ricky Vargas will meet the biggest delegation yet of the SEA Games Federation-- which he also heads-- to chart a united program for the success of the 30th Southeast Asian Games the country is hosting in 2019.
Representatives from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste and Vietnam will join sports leaders from the host country in crafting the overall look of the SEA Games, including the approval of several sports to be contested in the biennial tournament.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Philippines SEAG Organizing Committee Executive Board chairman, had rolled the red carpet to welcome the foreign delegates.
Vargas, who is also the boxing association chief, is co-vice chairman of the Phisgoc, together with Philippine Sports Commission Chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez.
Also to be present are the other members of the board in Bases Conversion and Development Authority president Vince Dizon, POC chairman Rep. Abraham Tolentino, PSC commissioner Arnold Agustin, POC secretary-general Patrick Gregorio and Planning and Coordination Office executive director Tats Suzara.
Phoenix Petroleum CEO Dennis Uy and PLDT chairman Manny V. Pangilinan are the board advisers.
It is going to be a busy day today for the SEA Games Federation members as they meet from 9 a.m. 12 noon to discuss key issues on Sports and Rules, Medical and Women and Sports, before the SEA Games Federation Executive Committee convenes in the afternoon.
On Thursday, the crucial SEA Games Federation Council meeting is also set from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.
“I look forward with eager anticipation to the opportunity to meet and work with our counterparts from our southeast asian neighbors in this first SEA Games Council Meeting,” said Vargas.
“The task of ensuring the success of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games does not rest solely on the shoulders of the host nation but is heavily reliant on the cooperation and support of the other member countries,” Vargas added. “I am confident that we can count on our friends in the Southeast Asian Council to be one with us in striving to fulfill everyone’s wish for a competitive yet friendly 2019 SEA GAMES. I welcome every delegate and participant with a sincere and warm ‘Mabuhay’!”
The Philippines is hosting the SEA Games for only the fourth time since it was founded as the Southeast Asian Peninsular Games in 1961.
The Southeast Asian Peninsular Games became the SEA Games in 1977, the year the Philippines was included in the roster of participants along with Brunei and Indonesia.
The Philippines first hosted the SEA Games in 1981 and then in 1991. It hosted the Games last in 2005 when the Philippines emerged as the overall champion.