MANILA - House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday downplayed the barrage of criticism against preparations for the upcoming 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games being hosted by the Philippines.
Some members of foreign delegations to the sporting event complained of awful accommodations and delayed transportation after their arrival in the Philippines.
Online uproar ignited after pictures of foreign athletes waiting for transportation at the airport and their room reservations at their respective hotels circulated online.
Photos of inadequate food served to the athletes and unfinished venues also went viral.
Cayetano, who is the current chairman of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Committee (PHISGOC), said the problem being faced by the host country is not new in the history of the Games.
Addressing lawmakers at the Speakers’ Social Hall, Cayetano said, “I've been talking to many athletes. They’ve been telling me, 'Boss we've been all around the world sa iba't-ibang events SEA Games, Asian Games, iba nag Olympics pa, lahat 'to boss nangyayari,'” he claimed.
Cayetano, however, owed up to some of the delayed transport of foreign contingents.
“We have more than 100 arrivals. Tatlo nagka-problema, 2 may kasalanan tayo, isa they were advised the night before 2 p.m. ang check-in. When they got there, binigyan naman sila ng holding room," he said.
Cayetano claimed that in other countries, the host country’s media played down problems.
In a separate meeting with visitors from the military, Cayetano again called out critics of the Games, singling out Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and blaming the latter for allegedly delaying the 2019 budget which he blamed for the woes of the SEA Games.
"Tama 'yung sinabi ni Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero, it was Senator Drilon who moved the budget of the SEA Games to the PSC (Philippine Sports Commission) and it was (him) who proposed cutting it by 33 percent."
Romero earlier blamed Drilon, attributing logistical issues in the country's hosting of the SEA Games to the delay of the 2019 budget, which President Rodrigo Duterte signed only in April.
"Unfortunately the Senate had a lot of problems and na-delay ng 5 to 6 months yung budget. Lahat to was caused by that delay. Sen. Drilon is also partly to blame probably because the delay was caused on their side, not on the House side," Romero told ANC's "Headstart." - Report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News
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