Suzara to be replaced in 2019 SEA Games organizing committee

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) chairman Alan Peter Cayetano revealed on Tuesday, September 17, that an executive committee is set to take over Ramon "Tats" Suzara's duties for the regional biennial meet that will be held in the Philippines in less than 3 months. 

"We are thinking of putting up [a committee]. We were advised that as the SEA Games draws closer, you need a crisis or executive committee for day to day problems," said Cayetano. 

The PHISGOC executive director filed for a leave from September 11 to 30, 2019 to fulfill his commitments for the FIVB Volleyball Women's World Cup as an official of the Asian Volleyball Confederation. 

In the meantime, PHISGOC director of support Jojit Alcazar was appointed as the officer-in-charge to take over Suzara's responsibilities for the multi-sport event that will run from November 30 to December 11. 

However, Cayetano reassured that it was not a major shakeup as it is time for the PHISGOC to undergo a reorganization as it is shifting from the planning stage to the actual operations of SEA Games. 

"But ang key role niya (Suzara) talaga is planning and advising. Maaari magkaroon ng reassignment sa roles kasi matatapos na ang period natin sa planning at pagpupundar ng foundation. Nandun na tayo sa day to day operations," added the PHISGOC chairman. 

(But Suzara's key role is planning and advising. There's a possibility that there will be a reassignment of roles because the period of planning and building the foundation of the SEA Games is about to end. We're at the phase of the day to day operations.) 

"We are thinking elevating two or 3 others who have been doing hard work to positions who can hammer down what we have to do in the next two months." 

What about the test events? 

While Suzara was on board as the PHISGOC executive director, he has made commitments to several national sports associations (NSAs) like the Larong Volleyball Pilipinas Inc (LVPI) to help in organizing the SEA Games test events. (READ: Ramirez wants more buzz as 2019 SEA Games nears)

According to LVPI president and Philipppine Olympic Committee 1st Vice President Joey Romasanta, the leadership shakeup within the organizing committee will affect the coordination between the sports federations and the PHISGOC. 

"Hindi ko alam kung sino kakausapin ko sa PHISGOC tungkol sa mga test event na iyan," admitted Romasanta to Rappler. 

"Humingi pa nga ako ng tulong kay chairman Butch Ramirez. Okay naman si Chairman Ramirez pero hindi ko alam kung tuloy pa ba ‘yung mga commitments na iyon?" 

(I don't know who to talk to in PHISGOC regarding those test events. I asked chairman Butch Ramirez for help and he said okay, but I don't know if these commitments will still push through.) 

The LVPI was planning to host the Philippine leg of the SEA Grand Prix that will serve as a tune-up tournament for the Philippines and the invited countries Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia from October 4 to 6 in Sta. Rosa Sports Complex in Laguna. 

Romasanta added that the national federations of as athletics, aquatics, modern pentathlon and petanque were also planning their own test events with PHISGOC. 

Aside from the test events, the procurement of sports equipment for the SEA Games has to be fast-tracked as only 18 out of the 61 requests have been approved by the Philippine Sports Commission. – with reports from Mara Cepeda/ 

Beatrice Go

More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.