MANILA, May 29 (Xinhua) -- Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William Ramirez finally accepted the role as the Philippines' "chef de mission" to the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, one day after his initially declined decision.
Ramirez announced his decision on Wednesday that he received a call from Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and reflected on the offer.
The PSC chairman officially replaced Philippine Taekwondo Association secretary-general Monsour del Rosario after POC President Ricky Vargas fired him and several officials from their appointive positions in the POC General Assembly last Monday, May 27.
Ramirez said he initially declined the offer because he is already able to help with the country's preparations as chief of the PSC, but he was given instructions from the Malacanang, the Philippine Presidential palace to accept the post.
On Tuesday, the Philippine Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo called on everyone who involving the controversy to insulate sports from politics in order to protect the Filipino athletes.
"Last night, I was given firm instructions which I shall carry out, knowing beyond any doubt that national interest is the primary concern of government, and should be all of it. I humbly accept the 'chef de mission' post for Team Philippines' 2019 SEA Games participation," said Ramirez.
Vargas offered the position to Ramirez as he was deemed "most qualified" for the post, according to the POC.
"He is the most qualified. Many are, but he is the most qualified to handle this job. And I thank him for accepting and reconsidering," said Vargas.
As "chef de mission", Ramirez will be on top of the country's preparation for the SEA Games.
With six months left until the country's hosting of the SEA Games, reminded sports leaders "to consider peaceful interactions."
"I express my solid support to the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee. We must stand as one," he said.
"I do this in the interest of protecting our national commitment. If by accepting, we can start considering peace as an option towards a successful hosting of the SEA Games, then I accept. I pray that all concerned consider a truce and aim to focus on this commitment which we must undertake as a united sports community of the strong and focused country," Ramirez added.
The chief of the country's sports governing body assured that he can juggle the dual role as the Philippines hosts the regional biennial multi-sports event successfully.
Ramirez will start his duties by scheduling a "chef de mission" meeting with the presidents and secretaries-general of the different national sports associations.
This will allow him to understand what activities have been done by the associations as well as addressing what needs to be done before the SEA Games opening on November 30.