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Philippines u-turn on 2019 SEA Games

The 2019 Southeast Asian Games is set to take place in the Philippines after all, with the country’s President, Rodrigo Duterte, reportedly having had a change of heart over his earlier decision to withdraw the state’s financial support for the multi-sport event.

Cynthia Carrion, a board member of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), confirmed that Duterte had offered his support, with the SEA Games Federation set to be notified today (Friday) about the change in stance.

In July, the POC voted to appeal against Duterte’s decision, delivered through the Philippine Sports Commission, that the country would no longer host the multi-sport event. At the time, the government said that the money that had been set aside to host the Games would be required instead to invest in war-torn areas of the country.

Duterte met with POC officials to discuss the Games on Wednesday, according to Channel News Asia, which added that Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano had been appointed as the chairman of the event’s organising committee.

"It's through the hosting of these events that the people of the world can see what the Philippines and its people are all about," POC president Jose Cojuangco said earlier today.