The staging of the 2021 Southeast Asian Games could be in danger of being postponed due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in host Vietnam.
But the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) is not yet pressing the alarm button, taking a wait and see approach to how the SEAG organizers will go about the issue in the coming days.
PSC commissioner Ramon Fernandez – the country’s chef de mission to the Vietnam SEA Games – confirmed to GMA News Online that there will be a meeting among National Olympic Councils (NOCs) where the possibility of postponement will be discussed.
But the PBA legend said that nothing has been cast in stone yet and they will just wait for a formal announcement from the organizers.
In the past few days, there have been reports on Southeast Asian media about the SEA Games Organizing Committee reaching out to the NOCs of participating countries and inviting them to a crucial meeting on June 9 that could determine the fate of the regional meet.
“‘Yun din ang nabasa ko, ‘yung sa Malaysian website and so I called up Karen Caballero and she said the NOCs are going to have a meeting this Wednesday regarding the matter,” Fernandez said during an interview on Monday night.
“It’s because parang pumapalag ‘yung Indonesia and Cambodia, they wanted it to push through. We’ll just have to wait.”
If the SEA Games will indeed be pushed back, Fernandez said they would be ready; however, he admitted it’s going to be a major blow to the athletes who have been busy in training for the competition.
“Tigil na naman, the athletes will be training on their own na naman. We might have to postpone their training because of the lack of funds otherwise, mauubos,” said Ferandez.
“But we will check also with DBM (Department of Budget and Management) kung pwede pa rin naming gamitin yung P200 million na binigay for the SEA Games to train them continually.”
Concurrent Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) chief Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino is set to attend the virtual meeting with other NOC members but according to Fernandez, it is still uncertain if organizers and NOC presidents will arrive at a final decision by tomorrow.
“Palagay ko naghihintay lang din ang SEA Games sa mangyayari sa Olympics,” he said.
“Mahirap mag-speculate eh, we can only just wait for the decision of the NOCs but well, the PSC is ready to help naman in whatever way we can in the scarcity of funds.”
This development came after the national government gave a go-signal in vaccinating delegates bound for Vietnam SEAG and Tokyo Olympics.
As of June 6, Vietnam had recorded 211 new COVID-19 cases that added up to the country's total cases of 3,516.
—JMB, GMA News