Regardless of the outcome of the meeting among officials of the Southeast Asian Games Federation, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) has encouraged the athletes to keep their focus on training.
PSC Commissioner Ramon Fernandez said that they are waiting for Thursday’s SEAG Federation meeting which is expected to tackle the fate of the biennial event.
“We’re still awaiting the outcome of the meeting, but we are ready,” said Fernandez, who is also the Chef de Mission for the national team in the SEA Games in Vietnam later this year, during the PSA online forum Tuesday, June 22.
“The NSAs (national sports associations), I would like to believe they are ready. They’re looking for LGUs (local government units) to adopt them for training. Some have done that.”
A few months ago, Fernandez asked the NSAs to look for LGUs as training hosts since both the government-owned sports facilities, the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila and PhilSports Complex in Pasig, are being used as quarantine facilities for COVID-19 patients.
So far, LGUs have accommodated several teams, such as fencing in Ormoc, archery in Dumaguete, weightlifting in Zamboanga, muay in Baguio, kickboxing in Benguet, volleyball and table tennis in Taguig, and cycling and chess in Tagaytay.
The LGUs of Ilocos Norte, Bohol, Cebu, Sta. Rosa in Laguna have signified their intention to provide help. Fernandez said that the plan is for the athletes to start training on July 1.
Fernandez said several NSAs have already requested funding for the ‘bubble’ training for the SEA Games.
“Twenty-eight NSAs submitted their budget for bubble training and it already amounted to P184 million. The PSC only has a budget or P200 million for the SEA Games,” said Fernandez.
“The PSC cannot finance all this. One NSA asked for P5 million and we have 39 NSAs… baka mag-bangka tayo going to Vietnam. We need the NSAs to step up also and look for LGUs to help them with facilities, billeting and food.”
The country won the overall title as SEA Games host in 2019, and is looking at fielding more than 600 athletes to Hanoi in its bid for a strong podium finish despite the COVID-19 pandemic.