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POC Board members pressed PHISGOC to liquidate 2019 SEAG expenses

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CITING its urgency, seven members of the 13-man Philippine Olympic Committee Executive Board today pressed the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee for the immediate submission of PHISGOC’S audited financial statements on the expenses of the 2019 30th SEA Games.

The board members were POC chairman Steve Hontiveros, first vice president Jose Romasanta, second vice president Col. (ret.) Antonio Jeff Tamayo, Treasurer Julian Camacho, auditor Jonne Go and board members Atty. Jesus Clint Aranas and Robert Mananquil.

Responding to  published reports  and statements attributed to  PHISGOC Inc. president and chief operating officer Ramon Suzara on Wednesday, the group stressed  that the POC general assembly  was not taking issue over the government funds  given to the 30th SEA Games “but the preparation and submitted of the required financial statements.”

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House Speaker Allan Peter Cayetano, who was a former student of Suzara at De La Salle Zobel, was the chairman of PHISGOC, which was mandated to manage and operate the 30th SEA Games under the agreement it signed on Aug. 15, 2019 with the POC and the Philippine Sports Commission.

The sportsfest concluded on Dec. 11. 2019.

Referring  to the same reports quoting Suzara, the group said this was misleading the issue because the tripartite agreement “obligates PHISGOC to submit to the Philippine Sports Commission and the POC the financial reports and make available all records and documents related to the SEAG.”

The majority members of the board likewise clarified and insisted  that the request for the PHISGCOG report was a “collective decision” of the POC general assembly taken during its online meeting held last Sept. 29.

Published reports stated that the POC has been asking PHISOGC to submit its audited financial statements on its management and operations of the 30th SEAG, whose submission was delayed by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic since February.

The group maintained that PHISGOC was given enough extension, which was why the general assembly approved the resolution in adopting the motion of Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association president Philip Ella Juico and Aranas, president of World Archery Philippines, regarding the issue.

In the same meeting, reports said, the POC gave instructions to POC secretary general Atty. Edwin Gastanes to notify PHISGOC of the resolution, setting an Oct. 10 deadline to accomplish the task.

“Our group understands how alarmed the General Assembly is on this matter and the longer this takes casts doubt on how these funds were utilized, the group said.

“Please note that the call for liquidation and transparency is made by the POC General Assembly as a collective. The sentiments expressed by Messrs. Juico and Aranas (i.e. transparency and accountability of the SEA Games Funds) are sentiments unanimously shared among and expressed by the members of the POC General Assembly during the virtual POC General Assembly,” the group said.

“Thus, we do not think that our call for transparency casts ‘unnecessary aspersions,’ at least on the integrity of the POC and the PSC. Unless the PHISGOC properly accounts for all these funds soonest, the POC is well within its rights to demand the same from PHISGOC,” it added.

Following Commission on Audit rules on the liquidation of government financial support to organizations, including PHISGOC, Inc., should have been done by Feb. 9, the board members noted.   

“The Commission on Audit requires agencies and organizations who are recipients of government financial support to liquidate the funds within sixty (60) days after the completion of the project,” the group stressed

“Thus, it is incumbent upon PHISGOC to render an accounting of the SEA Games funds immediately and it is disappointing that it has to come to the point of the General Assembly calling for transparency and accountability for PHISGOC to perform its obligations under the Tripartite Agreement.

“Frankly, PHISGOC is already in breach of the Tripartite Agreement,” the group underscored.

The group reiterated that “the decision of the POC General Assembly to call for an accounting and liquidation is consistent with the duties and responsibilities of the POC of under the Tripartite Agreement.”

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