By Genalyn Kabiling
Sports should be insulated from politics especially as the country is set to host the Southeast Asian Games this year, Malacañang declared Tuesday night.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the pitch to keep politics out of sports as he urged the public to rally behind the athletes.
“We call on everyone to insulate sports from politics,” he said amid the issues hounding the Philippine Olympic Committee.
“The Philippines will be hosting the 30th edition of the Southeast Asian Games this year. We should be together rallying behind and supporting all the Filipino athletes who are set to compete in the games as we extend our world-famous warmth and hospitality to our brothers and sisters in the region who are coming to Manila either to participate and represent or cheer their nations,” he said.
Panelo also noted that Palace was backing two POC officials amid the controversy hounding the sports agency.
“The Palace expresses support to Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Ricky Vargas and POC Chairman Abraham ‘Bambol’ Tolentino,” he said.
Vargas recently implemented a revamp in the POC, removing some board members from their committee positions for loss of trust and confidence. He reportedly hit back at attempts to undermine his leadership and reforms.
Vargas reportedly nominated Tolentino to replace POC first Vice President Joey Romasanta, who is the chef de mission to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.