Butch: We’re 90 percent ready

September 13, 2019
William ‘Butch’ Ramirez

Philippine Sports Commission chairman William “Butch” Ramirez is eager to resolve the procurement of equipment for the sports to be played in the 30th Southeast Asian Games as soon as possible.

“Our biggest concern is the procurement of equipment, so we are giving ourselves up to Monday to solve the issue,” said Ramirez during Team Philippines’ consultative meeting Friday.

According to Ramirez, who also sits as the country’s chef de mission in the 11-nation sportsfest, delays hit the acquisition of equipment that the 56 sports will use during the Nov. 30-Dec. 11 Games.

Out of the 61 requests for equipment by the national sports associations, only 18 got approved through the PSC bidding process.

“I’m positive that we can provide answers because the hosting of the country is at stake here,” said Ramirez, adding that P500-P600 million have been allocated for the equipment requirements of the NSAs which will host their sport.

Majority of the NSA leaders came during the meeting held at the Philippine International Convention Center where ticketing, venues, billeting, transportation and protocol matters were likewise discussed.

Ramirez said Team Philippines is almost 90 percent ready in terms of preparation.

“This is like sprinting in a 100-meter dash. We have no more time. If there are shortcomings, the PSC will fill in the gaps,” added Ramirez, pointing out that President Duterte is expecting a successful hosting.

He added that problems in some of the venues should also be addressed by finding alternative areas where the sport could be played.

“We have 77 days left. We have to find a very good solution in case a venue cannot host a particular sport. There should be quick alternatives,” said Ramirez.

Ramirez was not alone in addressing the assembly, a guarantee that everyone in Philippine sports hierarchy were fully behind the Games.

Present were Philippine Olympic Committee President Abraham Tolentino and Chairman Steve Hontiveros, PSC Commissioners Charles Maxey and Celia Kiram, Deputy Chef de Mission Stephen Fernandez and Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee Executive Director Tom Carrasco.

“This [gathering] will be a test of leadership of Filipino sports leaders. This will be a challenge. Today we are not PSC, POC or Phisgoc. We are all Philippine team” Ramirez added.

Further cementing support to Team Philippines was Phisgoc Chairman, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, who emphasized that solidarity among the PSC, POC and Phisgoc has become unbreakable. “We have had 3 Presidents of POC and I know, again, it’s not easy. But right now, then on November 30, dalawa lang naman choice natin — work together and be successful, or not work together and be unsuccessful,” said Cayetano.

PHISGOC functional areas on ticketing, accommodation, venues, transportation, logistics and sports briefed the assembly on developments toward the Games that kick off in two and a half months from November 30 to December 11.

Following discussions on the progress of work for the Games hosting, minor hitches on completion of venue requirements at least in weightlifting, squash, kickboxing, skateboard and obstacle sports were addressed.