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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Duterte SEA Games call ‘unfortunate’

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Phillippine President Rodrigo Duterte (left) and Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia shake hands after a meeting in Phnom Penh’s Peace Palace in December 2016. The Philippine President had called off the 2019 SEA Games to be hosted in Manila, citing the need to use the funds for rehabilitating troubled areas in Mindanao. Hong Menea

Duterte SEA Games call ‘unfortunate’

Cambodia is among several Asean member nations expressing concern and disappointment over the recent decision by the Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte to call off the 2019 SEA Games in Manila and divert the budgeted funds for projects rehabilitating trouble-torn areas of Mindanao.

The Philippines, who last staged the Games in 2005, were awarded the hosting rights for the 30th edition after first choice Brunei backed out due to inadequate facilities and manpower.

The country’s military forces have been battling for months to liberate IS-infested Marawi and Duterte, who sought the extension of martial law in Mindanao until the end of the year last week, announced through the Philippines Sports Commission his decision not to go ahead with the 2019 SEA Games.

NOCC Secretary-General Vath Chamroeun called the decision “unfortunate” and said he hoped a way out of the crisis could be found soon.

Meanwhile, the Philippines Olympic Committee (POC) is reportedly seeking a meeting with the president to appeal the government’s decision.

POC board member Robert Mananquil has suggested private sector funding to cover major expenses for the games, requiring the government to foot the bill only for security measures and immigration procedures.

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