DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) has called for a special audit of the Philippine hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games after various food and logistic issues arose despite its P7.5 billion funding for the country’s hosting of the event.
The “shabby” hosting of SEA Games, led by the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC), constitute “a national embarrassment for the Philippines”, Bayan said in a statement.
“The recent incidents show a lack of preparation on the part of the hosting committee, despite the huge funds allotted for the event. It seems they have failed to give importance to foreign guests and in some cases, even Filipino athletes,” the group added.
Foreign participants of the SEA Games who arrived early in the Philippines, days before its formal opening this Saturday, also raised issues including problems in transportation, food, and accommodation.
Reports also showed that venues of other sporting events were still unfinished.
The controversial P50 million cauldron built for the SEA Games also received flak from several Filipinos for its price. PHISGOC, however, downplayed the issue. President Rodrigo Duterte also defended the high price of the said cauldron.
“There should be a special audit of the SEA Games after it has been concluded. Billions were allotted for the event, yet we are seeing ill-prepared hosts and snafus. This is unacceptable insofar as the funding for the event goes. We have been hearing of sweetheart deals and onerous terms in the construction of the P11.5 billion venue in Clark, on top of the P50 million cauldron that has earned the ire of many Filipinos,” Bayan said.
“We have seen reports that some expenditures were not bidded out. We dread that the SEA Games would be just another source of corruption for some quarters . Thus a special audit is necessary as this involves several Government agencies,” it added.
Bayan encouraged Filipinos to continue to call out the government on these issues.
Meanwhile, the League of Filipino Students (LFS) pointed out that while the government willing to spend P7.5 billion for the SEA Games’ hosting, it continues to abandon its responsibility to fund the needed basic social services of Filipinos.
“Each day, the socio-economic crisis under the Duterte administration worsens. Crisis in transportation, electricity, water, health, education and other basic services for the people is being deliberately neglected. But rather addressing the people’s needs, Duterte aggravates the worsening crisis by launching fascists attacks to the ordinary Filipino people,” LFS said in a statement.
“It prioritizes funding its military and ‘intelligence’ projects to suppress the people’s genuine clamor for its rights. What is happening to the handling of the SEA GAMES 2019 is a manifestation of our own government’s ineptitude to address the needs of our people,” it added.
With the recent anomalies in SEA Games, the group said that President Duterte perpetuates corruption within its administration, and thus be held accountable along with other government officials. (davaotoday.com)