Millions of hearts were broken on Friday when the Philippines lost its bid to host the 2019 Fiba World Cup. But Malacanang is optimistic that issues such as insufficient infrastructure would one day be resolved to allow the country to host more international events.
Kaya darating po tayo diyan sa puntong ‘yan na magiging sapat at tunay na competitive at world-class ang ating pasilidad sa buong bansa at magiging mas kanais-nais pa tayong destinasyon ng investment, tourism, at iba’t ibang events, Communications Secretary Herminio Sonny Coloma Jr. said over state-run Radyo ng Bayan.
(We will reach a point when the country’s facilities are enough, truly competitive and world-class and we would be an attractive destination for investment, tourism and other events.)
While the Philippine delegation, led by business tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan, Hollywood actor Lou Diamond Phillips, basketball star Jimmy Alapag, and former national team coach Chot Reyes, gave an emotional pitch about the Filipino passion for basketball and the power of fans and social media, it could not compete with China’s presentation on the available infrastructure to be used for the event.
Instead, the Philippines’ presentation focused on future plans, including highways that would be completed before 2019.
While China already has eight cities slated to host the world cup, the Philippines only has three venues, with the fourth one to be constructed in Cebu.
Other personalities present at the final pitch were Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Senator Sonny Angara, and boxing icon and Congressman Manny Pacquiao.
Right after it was announced that China won the bid, Coloma said Filipinos should hold their heads up high.
Wala po tayong dapat ikahiya dahil alam din naman po ng mga bansa sa daigdig na mayroon tayong sapat na kakayahan, he later said on Saturday. Nakita na rin nila ‘yan ‘nung tayo ay nag-host na rin ng isang seksyon ng Fiba tournament noong nakaraan, at nakita naman po nila na mayroon tayong sapat na kakayahan hinggil diyan.
(We shouldn’t be ashamed because the country and the world know that we are capable. They have seen what we can do when we hosted one section of the Fiba tournament and it proved that we are capable.)
Coloma said the country has the capability to host the Fiba World Cup but that the government is taking into consideration that the organization has a process.
The Philippines was able to host the Fiba Asia Championship Cup in 2013 despite losing to Lebanon’s bid. The management of Fiba decided to hold the event in the Philippines because of the crisis in Beirut.
Coloma assured the public that the government will continue to pursue infrastructure projects, especially though Public Private Partnerships (PPPs). He said 10 PPP projects have already been completed under the Aquino administration, among them the Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway.
He added that the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Expressway was also slated to be unveiled for the country’s hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) in November.
There are 30 to 50 PPP projects (in the pipeline) and almost all are infrastructure-oriented, he said.