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POC allots P5.6 million to NSAs for preparation

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by Nick Giongco

The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) will provide 56 national sports association (NSA) a supplemental budget of P100,000 each for expenses to be incurred in relation to their preparation for the 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEAG).

Newly elected POC President Ricky Vargas. (MB photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

Newly elected POC President Ricky Vargas. (MB photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

POC President Ricky Vargas said the amount will be subject to liquidation as this was taken from sponsorship amounting to P76 million which the POC has raised.

“There will be guidelines and they will be required to liquidate,” said Vargas during the POC’s General Assembly at the Meralco Multi-Purpose Hall in Pasig.

POC Secretary-General Patrick Gregorio said NSA leaders can use the money just for about anything provided that they come up with a liquidation report.

“They can use it to buy vitamins, anything SEAG-related but they have to properly liquidate,” said Gregorio.

The move to lend the NSAs a helping hand comes at a time when the sports community has been getting reports of destabilization in the runup to the hosting of the Nov. 30-Dec. 11 sportsfest that will be played in the New Clark City in Tarlac, Metro Manila and key cities in Central and Southern Luzon.

“Matutuloy ang SEA Games. These are all fake news. Nakakahiya tayo if we don’t proceed. There is no turning back,” said Vargas. [We’ll proceed with the SEA Games. We’ll lose face if we don’t.]

As this developed, Vargas called on everyone to join hands in the country’s hosting of the biennial sportsfest even as he extolled the PHISGOC for doing its best to hold the SEAG in style.

“The PHISGOC is building facilities that are Asian Games-level,” said Vargas, referring to the 20,000-capacity track and field stadium and the 5,000-seater aquatics center in Capas town.

“Let us all work together. There is no problem with the Philippines’ hosting as far as the SEA Games Federation Council is concerned,” said Vargas, who was backed by POC Chairman Bambol Tolentino.

“The SEA Games will be played here,” said Tolentino after some reports that Thailand and Indonesia are willing to serve as host countries in the event the Philippines withdraws.

Vargas also shed some light on how the SEAG basketball competition was just days ago moved to the Mall of Asia Arena after it was initially calendared for the smaller Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

Vargas said that last Wednesday, the PBA, where he is board chairman, agreed to give eight of its playdates at the Smart Araneta Coliseum – Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 – to the SEAG organizing council for the hosting of the all-important event.

But a last-minute “meeting of the minds” between Mall of Asia Arena management and PHISGOC official Tats Suzara resulted in the availability of the venue where Gilas Pilipinas won the silver medal during the FIBA Asian Championship six years ago, leaving basketball a choice between the two venues.

PHISGOC chose MOA Arena for basketball and the Big Dome for the volleyball events.

Vargas and Suzara met at Hong Kong a few days ago to put the finishing touches to the switch of venues.

“It was a matter of explaining to MOA,” said Vargas.

Meanwhile, an all-PBA team, other than Gilas Pilipinas, will be fielded to the SEA Games, Vargas said.

“The World Cup team will probably be tired by then and we have decided that another team will be formed,” he said. #SEAGames2019

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