Philippines to host 2019 Games

MANILA • The Philippines has agreed to host the 2019 SEA Games after the two other countries next in line, Brunei and Vietnam, declined, a sports official said yesterday.

This was agreed upon during a SEA Games Federation executive meeting in Singapore last month when Brunei, which was scheduled to stage the 2019 edition, asked to pass due to "organisational reasons", said Joey Romasanta, first vice-president of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) .

Vietnam, the 2021 hosts, also declined so the federation offered the event to the Philippines, he added.

"We agreed to host it but formalities still have to be complied with," added Romasanta.

The cash-strapped country is not likely to build new facilities but will use existing arenas, stadiums and hotels for the Games, he noted.

Philippine Sports Commission chair Richie Garcia had said on Thursday that the bulk of the events would be held in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

The sprawling, former US airbase of Clark, north of Manila, which has been turned into a light industrial zone and tourist centre, will likely serve as the base of the Games but some events will be held elsewhere, Romasanta added.

"All we need is a state-of-the-art track oval. We can work on that," he remarked.

He said the funding for the Games has yet to be determined as the line-up of sports and events has not been decided.

However, Garcia insisted that "we are not going to build any large infrastructure", which typically accounts for the bulk of costs.

Malaysia will host the biennial meet in 2017 with a budget said to be between US$180 million (S$240 million) and US$220 million.

Singapore spent about $324.5 million in hosting the SEA Games last month.

"We're going to maximise the use of existing facilities that we also used in the 2005 Games here, plus we will approach the (management of) Mall of Asia and Iglesia (Ni Cristo) for their facilities," added Garcia. "We'll use Subic (Freeport) for water sports.

"As far as cost is concerned, I don't think the amount will be that big."

The INC owns a modern sports complex in Bocaue, Bulacan. It features the Philippine Arena, the world's largest indoor multi-purpose arena with a seating capacity of 55,000, and a 20,000-seater Philippine Sports Stadium.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ANN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2015, with the headline 'Philippines to host 2019 Games'. Print Edition | Subscribe