Duterte to play golf, lead delegation to Eaga Games

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

DAVAO City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte will play golf as he will also lead the city delegation to the 8th 2014 BIMP-Eaga Friendship Games on December 6 to 10 in Labuan, Malaysia.

Organizing Labuan Corporation chair Datuk Rozman Bin Datuk HJ. Isli paid Duterte a courtesy visit at the Marco Polo Hotel late Wednesday night, inviting him and the city to participate in the 11-event sportsfest.

"We will be there. We can participate. I'll be there. I'm your friend," Duterte said, saying that Malaysia has a soft spot in his heart as its government remains a close friend.


Duterte shared to Rozman that he'd been to Kuala Lumpur last March to watch the Formula 1 Petronas Grand Prix through an invitation by the Malaysian government.

Duterte said, "We are after closer ties through the promotion of sports."

The mayor also assured Rozman that he can stay even in a small hotel room and take the one-hour ferry trip from Brunei Darussalam to Labuan, a cheaper alternative route that was presented to him by the Malaysian dignitary. However, there are direct flights to Labuan from Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and Brunei.

Rozman said Labuan has 2,000 hotel rooms and that universities may also be used as billeting quarters for delegates. He added that Labuan will give free hotel rooms for two VIPs and media for each delegation.

Rozman bared this year's Games for 21 years old and below will feature lawn balls, athletics, sepak takraw, pencak silat, futsal, football, archery, beach volleyball and baminton events.

"Swimming was not included since our pool is still under repair," Rozman said.

Duterte then asked Sports Development Division of the City Mayor's Office (SDD-CMO) officer-in-charge William "Butch" Ramirez on which events the city can participate in. Ramirez said the city can join in five to six events or more. The city sports chief added the city won't be competing in lawn balls and pencak silat but they will have yet to finalize which of the remaining events they will prioritize. He, however, mentioned athletics, sepak takraw, basketball, futsal, football, beach volleyball and baminton as events they are considering.

Rozman asked Duterte to join their VIP golf, a side event of the Games.
Duterte replied in jest, "I play golf. Okay, I'll join", eliciting applause from the foreign guests.

Duterte and Romzan then exchanged souvenir tokens. The mayor gave the latter a stone carving of the Davao City Hall while Rozman handed him a framed photo of Labuan government building and other Duty Free products.

"We're honored to be invited to your place," Duterte, who gamely pose with Rozman and his party, said after the meeting.

Philippine Sports Commission's Alona Doromal Quintos escorted the Malaysians to the meeting.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 27, 2014.


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