By NICK GIONGCO
Foreign Sec. Alan Peter Cayetano, the man on top of the country’s preparations for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, is looking forward to getting his feet wet with the new leadership of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).
“We will be starting our meeting later in the week but we’ve already been talking (informally),” said Cayetano during yesterday’s launching of Siklab Atleta, the government’s program in partnership with the private sector aimed at winning the country’s first Olympic gold medal in 2020 in Tokyo.
Vargas, head of the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP), was also present during the affair and he was also joined by men who form part of his inner circle: high-ranking boxing officials Patrick Gregorio and Ed Picson.
Cayetano said Vargas’ takeover of the POC leadership after winning the court-ordered election last Feb. 23 should provide “synergy” in the sports community.
“The issue has been settled,” said Cayetano, referring to the ages-old feud involving the previous leadership headed by veteran Tarlac lawmaker Jose “Peping” Cojuangco.
The composition of the organizing committee will be equally shared by the major players in the hosting, stressed Cayetano.
The 2019 SEAG will be held mostly in the Central Luzon area with Subic, Clark and Bulacan staging the lion’s share of the events. The Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan, will be the site of the opening ceremonies.
“We’ve made hue leaps forward,” said Cayetano, revealing that his late father, former Sen. Rene Cayetano, used to be closely acquainted with Vargas’ group.
“They know me from way back,” he said.