Why POC cancelled PH performance at SEA Games closing

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Malaysian supporters pose for pictures during the 29th Southeast Asian Games. Mohd Rasfan, AFP

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) on Wednesday justified its decision to call off a costly cultural presentation during the closing ceremonies of the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur.

The POC instead opted for a simple turnover of the country’s 2019 hosting of the 30th SEA Games from Malaysia at the closing program.

“It will not take five minutes for the turnover because the program prepared by Malaysia is highlighted by the celebration of the Independence Day of the host country and as overall champion of the Games, ” POC president Jose Cojuangco pointed out.

At the same time, Cojuangco appealed to sports critics that they should be proud of our athletes even though they failed to deliver the projected gold output or matched the country’s medal in previous SEA Games.

“All of us, including the critics, should rally behind the 2019 Philippine hosting and support our athletes in any way we can,” Cojuangco said.

He explained that the memorandum of agreement between the POC and Department of Tourism and the P8-million check for the cultural presentation were brought to Kuala Lumpur by the POC finance officer mid-way into the Games.

“How could we insist with the host country and the MASOC (Malaysian Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee) to present a 20-minute presentation when the closing program has been finalized long before the Games started and coincided with the Independence Day of Malaysia,” he said. 

“And the CDM (chef de mission), who attended the CDM meetings before and during the Games, could not even show the POC board a program that included a Philippine cultural show,” he added. 

Cojuangco said we should save for the country’s hosting rather than spend a huge amount that will not directly benefit the athletes. 

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