POC scouts venues for 2019 SEAG (Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines – Slowly and quietly, the Philippine Olympic Committee is already taking steps geared at the country’s hosting of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, POC president, yesterday told The STAR that they’ve started considering venues to host the various sports for the 2019 SEAG.

“Although it’s still four years away, we will soon begin scouting the venues where we can best host each of the events especially the important and most popular ones,” he said.

Last month, the POC passed a resolution formally accepting the offer from the SEA Games Federation for the Philippines to play host in 2019.

The Philippines will take over from Brunei, which begged off as host due to various reasons, including the lack of manpower needed to host the Games.

“The POC has already accepted the SEA Games offer,” said Cojuangco.

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Cojuangco said there are existing venues that can host the games, old ones like the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex and Philsports, and new ones like the Philippine Arena of the Iglesia ni Cristo and the Mall of Asia Arena.

There’s an existing aquatics center in Los Baaos, Laguna, and venues that can host outdoor events in Tagaytay and Subic Bay.

Other nearby venues that hosted events in 2005 were the Cuneta Astrodome, Makati Coliseum, Marikina Sports Complex, Rosario Sports Complex, Manila Golf Club, PNSA Shooting Range in Fort Bonifacio, Pasig Sports Center, Alabang Country Club and The Country Club in Canlubang.

Several events were also held in Bacolod and Cebu, but based on early plans, they will no longer be part of the 2019 hosting.

While there’s an abundance of hotels that can be used by the thousands of athletes and officials from 11 member countries, Cojuangco is still looking at the construction of an Athletes Village.

“The Athletes Village is my special concern even though we have enough hotels. I want to build a village that can be used for housing after. Then we can have a place for our retired athletes,” he said.

If not for the withdrawal of Brunei, the Philippines, SEA Games host in 1981, 1991 and 2005, would have to wait longer than 2019 to get another crack.

In 1981, the Filipinos finished third overall behind Indonesia and Thailand, and in 1991 fell one gold medal short of Indonesia in the final tally.

In 2005, the Philippines was crowned the overall champion, winning 113 of the 445 gold medals disputed from Nov. 27 to Dec. 5.