Sen. Zubiri optimistic on 2019 Manila SEA Games hosting

MANILA — Senator Miguel Zubiri has expressed optimism about the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games in 2019.

Appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as chairman of the Manila SEA Games Organizing Committee last week, the senator was charged with ensuring the successful staging of the biennial tournament, which the Philippines will be hosting for the fourth time since 1981.

“When I was tasked to lead the hosting of the SEA Games in 2019, I was very happy to be part of the team,” said Zubiri in an interview with PTV 4 on Wednesday.

The senator, who is also a karatedo and taekwondo athlete, said he is “honored to accept the challenge and responsibility of helping organize the SEA Games”.

“Mabigat ang responsibilidad dahil kailangan nating ipagsama ang Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) at Philippine Sports Commission (PSC). May tampuhan sila (It is my responsibility to reconcile the POC and PSC. They have their differences),” said Zubiri.

“Mahalaga na magkaisa sa layunin (It is important that we are one on our goal), that we will hold the best ever Games in the Philippines. The best hosting that we’ve ever had. In the 2019 SEA Games, we should ensure the quality of the venues, sports facilities, hotels and other facilities. Sa bagay, may dalawang taon pa tayo (We still have two years to go).”

The senator is also hoping for the Philippines to become overall champion as host, which it did in 2005.

Zubiri is expected to join the Philippine contingent to the 29th edition of the SEA Games slated to be held on Aug. 19-30 in Malaysia.

“Yes, I am excited to go to Kuala Lumpur to see the 2017 SEA Games,” said Zubiri, who was also named honorary chairman of the Philippine Karatedo Federation. “I will do whatever I can contribute to help makapanalo ng (win) medals sa (in) Kuala Lumpur.”

Also participating in the SEA Games are Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Brunei and Timor Leste. Jean Malanum/