PSC head Ramirez: I’ll cross my finger

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Philippine Sports Commission Chairman William Ramirez (center) swap souvenirs with (from left) Korean Embassy Representative Consul Park Joong-Suk, Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Han Dong-Man, United Korean Community Association in the Philippines President Byun Jae Heung and Korean Sports Association of the Philippines head Youn Man Heong.

WITHOUT President Duterte’s signature on the General Appropriations Act for 2019, preparations for the 30th Southeast Asian Games the country is hosting could hardly move forward—or not at all.

And all the sports community could do is wait, at least in May, when President Durterte signs the act. “I’ll just cross my finger. It’s beyond our control as to the directions of Congress and the President. We will just wait,” Philippine Sports Commission Chairman William Ramirez said on Tuesday.

The national budget for 2019 is pegged at P3.7 trillion and a drop, P5 billion, has been allocated for the SEA Games hosting. The proposed budget for the November 30 to December 11 Games was P7.5 billion, but the Senate slashed it by a third. “As I know my President, if he says he will sign it in May—after the midterm elections—he will—it’s a statement of contradiction for the Congress to make it fast,” Ramirez said.

“If it will not come, so be it,” he sighed.

The Korean Embassy, meanwhile, has partnered with the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) for the staging of the first Korea-Philippines Sports Festival.

The partnership was sealed between Ramirez and Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Han Dong-Man, United Korean Community Association in the Philippines President Byun Jae Heung and Korean Sports Association of the Philippines head Youn Man Heong. “We at the PSC are grateful to partner with the Korean Embassy in this celebration, mainly because of the rich history both the Philippines and Korea have shared for a long time,” Ramirez said.

“The Korean Institute of Sports Science has been persistent in helping national team coaches and practitioners in lectures of sports science, sports psychology and sports policy,” he added.

With the theme “March Together,” the embassy will launch the Korea-Philippines Sports Festival on June 8, featuring 12 sports with soccer and baseball set to be played at PhilSports Complex in Pasig.

 “Sports is a vital component to connect people together, that is why we are inviting Filipino locals, especially the families of Korean War veterans to join the games with us,” Han said.