PH withdraws as 2019 SEA Games hosts; funds to be diverted to Marawi rehab

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 21) — The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) announced on Friday that the Philippines is withdrawing as the host of the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

In a letter written by PSC chairman William 'Butch' Ramirez to the Philippines Olympic Committee (POC), the PSC cited the current situation in Mindanao and the "problem of terrorism and atrocities as the reasons for no longer pushing through with the hosting of the biennial event."

Ramirez added that the resources for the hosting will instead be used for the rehabilitation and rebuilding of Mindanao specially Marawi.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law throughout Mindanao on May 23 following the clashes between government forces and the Maute group in Marawi.

On July 18, 2012, Brunei was selected to host the 30th SEA Games however, on June 4, 2015, Brunei withdrew its hosting rights at the meeting in the SEA Games Federation Council after its Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports has failed to give support for the tournament.

The withdrawal of Brunei's hosting rights were also due to the country's lack of sporting facilities, accommodation, and preparation of their athletes.

On July 10, 2015, the POC announced that the Philippines will be hosting the Games and it will be staged in Manila.

The last time the Philippines hosted the regional competition was in 2005, the country emerged overall champion harvesting 113 gold medals.

In the 2015 games held in Singapore, the Philippines grabbed the sixth spot and took home 29 gold medals.