Alan Cayetano cites sports as unifying element

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In this file photo, SEA Games Organizing Committee chairman and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano joins hands with Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) chairman Bambol Tolentino (left), POC president Ricky Vargas (right), and Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez (2nd from left).

by Joaquin Henson | The Philippine Star 

MANILA — Foreign Affairs Secretary and Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) executive board presiding chairman Alan Peter Cayetano hosted a welcome dinner for the SEA Games Federation delegates at the Marquis Events Place in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, the other night and delivered a heartfelt talk that spoke volumes of his passion for sports.

Cayetano took the stage for a brief message before dinner and dispensed with a prepared speech to speak from the heart. He cited sports as a unifying element in Southeast Asia and called it a teacher of values such as teamwork and discipline. Cayetano said while POC president and PHISGOC co-vice chair Ricky Vargas spoke on perseverance in a previous speech, he stressed the importance of persistence, even relating a Bible passage to express his point.

Cayetano said the cooperative spirit of the SEA Games family is what makes the biennial conclave an enriching experience. He said when the Philippines hosts the SEA Games next year, it will be difficult to top the delivery of the previous host Malaysia in 2017. “If we are able to match what Malaysia did, it will be a feat,” he said. “If we are able to top what Malaysia did, it will be a standard of excellence. If we are not able to match or surpass what Malaysia did, then it will be a lesson for future host countries to learn from.” He said the Philippines will do its best to stage an unforgettable SEA Games.

Vargas, for his part, said the coming SEA Games will be a fiercely-contested but fun event. “We in Southeast Asia are very competitive in nature so we expect fierce and healthy competition,” he said. Vargas mentioned that Filipino hospitality will be at its warmest in hosting the athletes, coaches, and delegates of the SEA Games family next year. PSC chairman and PHISGOC co-vice chair Butch Ramirez also went on stage to welcome the SEA Games Federation and vowed to do his part in making the next SEA Games a success.

Among those who attended the dinner were Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano, Sen. Miguel Zubiri, former Sen. Manny Villar, Rep. Conrad Estrella, 2019 SEA Games Philippine chef de mission Rep. Monsour del Rosario, Tarlac Gov. Susan Yap, Capas Mayor Rey Catacutan, IOC honorary member Frank Elizalde, SEA Games Federation honorary life president Prince Sufri Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesian head delegate Erick Thohir, former Rep. Monico Puentevella and PBA players J. C. Intal and Jay-R Reyes.

Former POC president and chairman of the SEA Games Federation executive committee Celso Dayrit said deliberations went smoothly in the morning and afternoon sessions. The Medical, Sports and Rules and Women and Sports Committees held simultaneous morning meetings before reporting to the Executive Committee in the afternoon. Dayrit said the first round of discussions zeroed in on 30 sports for the next SEA Games which will be the 30th edition of the event. Badminton made it to the list of 30, displacing ice hockey which will be reviewed in the coming rounds of deliberations with other sports, including squash, figure skating, jiu-jitsu, and E-sports. Arnis, a traditional Filipino sport, was in the list of 30.

In yesterday’s SEA Games Federation council meeting, Dayrit reported on the deliberations of the Medical, Sports and Rules, Women and Sports and Executive Committees. PHISGOC executive director Ramon Suzara made a 20-minute audio-visual presentation of what to expect in the 2019 SEA Games and Malaysia submitted a summary report on the 2017 SEA Games.

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