MANILA, June 18, 2005 
(STAR) By Abac Cordero - The controversies hounding the Arroyo administration will not stop the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee from ensuring the country’s successful hosting of the biennial event on Nov. 27-Dec. 5.

"We refuse to be distracted by all these incidents happening around us. And we’re moving on," said Philsoc chairman Roberto Pagdanganan yesterday.

The former tourism secretary said he doesn’t see anything untoward coming out of the negative issues being raised and hurled against President Arroyo and members of her family.

"Although we are hoping that everything will be resolved soon, I don’t see that happening," said Pagdanganan when asked about the possibility of a coup or any other action that could lead to a change of administration.

"Hindi mangyayari ‘yon. There’s a big difference between now and Edsa 1 and Edsa 2. In fact, parang nabubuwisit nga ang tao ngayon. I’m not referring to a particular person but with what’s happening," he said.

Asked if Philsoc has drawn up any contingency plan or a second option, Pagdanganan stressed that there’s even "no need" to do that.

"In fact, this is a perfect opportunity to project the Philippines on a very positive light. This is a chance to show what we can achieve as a nation. This SEA Games can even serve as a unifying factor," he added.

Pagdanganan, who carries the mandate of the President in performing his duties as Philsoc chairman, said they are determined to ensure a good management of the Games and at the same time maximize the country’s chances of winning the overall title.

Pagdanganan issued these statements during the signing of the memorandum of agreement between Philsoc and representatives of the different towns or cities and government or private sports facilities to be used during the Games.

Close to 8,000 athletes and officials from 11 countries, including the Philippines, will participate. It is only the third time in history that the country will host the Games after 1981 and 1991. Nineteen LGUs (local government units) are involved in the Games offering 411 gold medals in 41 sports.

Pagdanganan praised the top officials of the different LGUs, including Tagaytay City Mayor Bambol Tolentino who personally signed the MOA on behalf of his city.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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