Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has called for sobriety among Filipinos to ensure the country’s successful hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games despite the growing controversies ahead of its official launch on Nov. 30.
No matter how difficult it may be, De Lima said the Filipino public should try to separate “the government’s rapaciousness and incompetence” from hosting of the event as a country while the games are being held.
“Sa ating mga atleta at kanilang mga kaakabay sa pagsasanay, sa ating mga LGU volunteers na nagpapagod para mairaos ang paligsahan na ito, sa ating mga kabataan at kababayan na walang atubiling tumutulong para maging maganda ang kalagayan ng ating mga bisita,
“Magkapit-bisig po tayo sa mga susunod na araw para siguraduhing maging tagumpay ang palaro para sa atin at para sa mga kapitbahay natin sa Timog-Silangang Asya. Kayo ang mga bayani na magtutulak para ang kaganapang ito ay maging tanyag at kaakit-akit na makita sa ating rehiyon at sa buong mundo,” she said in her Dispatch from Crame No. 655.
Before the opening ceremony of the 2019 SEA games, organizers of the event have been met with complaints ranging from poor coordination for the transportation and accommodation of visiting athletes, insufficient food and failure to provide halal food to Muslim athletes, to the unfinished game venues, among others.
The Duterte administration also drew flaks for allocating an exorbitant amount, or a whopping 50 million pesos, for a 50-meter tall cauldron-type structure for the lighting of the SEA games flame.
The unrelenting backlash on social media received by the government due to the country’s hosting of the event eventually forced apologies from the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) chaired by House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and the Palace.
While the country still has a hosting job to do, De Lima said Filipinos should do their part in praying for and supporting the success of the 2019 SEA games for the honor of the nation, and not focus on the dishonorable regime of plunderers in the meantime.
“Despite their corruption, the brightest stars of the Philippine political universe still cannot take away from us our spirit as a nation and our graciousness as hosts,” she said.
“Huwag muna nating intindihin, sa ngayon, ang mga mandarambong at mga walang kwentang opisyales ni Duterte na nagpataba na ng kanilang mga pitaka gamit ang okasyon na ito. Wala na tayong magagawa pa sa kahihiyan nila. Pero maaari pa nating maisalba ang kahihiyan natin bilang mga Pilipino,” she added.
Once the games finally come to a close, the lady Senator from Bicol maintained that is important that the financing and organization of the 2019 SEA games be subjected to a microscopic investigation.
“[F]rom the rigmarole capitalization transaction involving the Bases Conversion Development Authority, MTD Capital Berhad of Malaysia, and the Development Bank of the Philippines, as hatched by former BCDA Chair and now Presidential Flagship Projects Advisor Vivencio Dizon, up to contracting the design of the [G]olden “Kaldero” to an apparently bedridden and dying national artist, cannot escape scrutiny after this is all over…” she said.
The 2019 SEA Games will feature 56 sports and 530 events in 44 venues across the country from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.