Duterte ‘very concerned’ about SEA Games athletes’ welfare

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 26 2019 07:03 PM | Updated as of Nov 26 2019 09:47 PM

Duterte ‘very concerned’ about SEA Games athletes’ welfare 1
President Duterte waves at members of the send-off party as he departs for Manila at Gimhae Air Base in Busan, South Korea, Nov. 26, 2019. Arman Baylon, Presidential Photo

MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte is "very concerned" about the welfare of athletes staying in the Philippines for the 30th Southeast Asian Games, Sen. Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go said Tuesday.

Duterte, who just returned from South Korea after a summit with other world leaders on Tuesday, is aware of the reported problems of the Philippines' hosting of the Games, according to Go.

"Si Pangulo very concerned siya sa mga ganu'n, lalo na po ngayon nakasalalay ang pangalan ng bansa," Go told radio DZMM.

(The President is very concerned with the way visitors are being treated, especially since the country's reputation is at stake.)

"He is a very good host with all hospitality na katangian ng isang Filipino," he added.

While the Games have yet to open formally, foreign athletes and journalists have already complained of several problems in relation to the Philippines hosting of the event.

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, who heads the organizing committee of the SEA Games, has downplayed the barrage of criticism, saying the problem being faced by the host country is not new to the Games.

Go, who also chairs the Senate sports committee, reminded organizers of the SEA Games of their responsibilities even as he urged critics to refrain from making negative comments in the meantime.

"Let me remind everyone that you will be answerable to the President and most especially to the Filipino people," he said.

"Sa ngayon, I am encouraging all, let us work as one in order to win as one. Nakataya dito ang pangalan ng Pilipinas at huwag natin hayaan na pumalpak ito."

'DOUBLE TIME'

With five days to go before the opening of the Games, Go said organizers should work "double time" to avoid further problems.

"Hindi po apology ang kailangan natin sa ngayon. Hindi natin ito madadaan sa apology lamang. Kailangan gisingin ang lahat at huwag na tayong papatay-patay pa, wala na tayong panahon," he said.

The senator called for camaraderie among Filipinos, saying it would be best if those who can lend a hand in the hosting offer to do so.

"Sanay naman po tayo sa bayanihan, magtulungan na lang po tayo at alalayan po natin," he said.

Go also assured Filipino athletes competing in the Games of Duterte's support.