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SEA Games: Philippines makes U-turn, will host in 2019

  • News Desk

    Agence France-Presse

Manila   /   Thu, August 17, 2017   /   03:46 pm
SEA Games: Philippines makes U-turn, will host in 2019 Philippines' Mummar Alamara reacts as he celebrates a goal against Singapore during their men's water polo round match at the 29th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) at National Aquatic Center in Bukit Jalil on August 17, 2017. (AFP/Mohd RASFAN )

The Philippines announced Thursday it would host the2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, just a month after pulling out citing the escalating cost of war with Islamist militants.

Manila last month said it would not host the 2019 SEAGames to focus on rebuilding Marawi, a southern city which has been ravaged by deadly battles between security forces and Islamist militants for almost three months.  

However, sports officials said Thursday the Philippines would formally notify the SEA Games Federation on Friday of its commitment to host the 2019 edition after securing backing from President Rodrigo Duterte.

"That's absolutely true. I'm 200 percent sure we are hosting the Games," Cynthia Carrion, a board member of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), told AFP.

Carrion, also the chef de mission of the Philippines delegation at the 2017 SEA Games, which begin in Malaysia at the weekend, said the government's initial decision "had nothing to do with Marawi" but refused to elaborate.

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Carrion said POC officials met with foreign secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and other Duterte advisers on Wednesday to discuss funding and other matters for the 2019 SEA Games.

The Philippine Sports Commission, which oversees the country's amateur sports development program, said in a separate statement Thursday that Cayetano was named chairman of the organizing committee for the2019 SEA Games.

The Philippines last hosted the biennial games in 2005.