Duterte wants military to handle SEA Games logistics next time

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 28 2019 09:04 PM | Updated as of Nov 28 2019 09:32 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte. Presidential Photo/File

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said the military would be better off handling logistics of the Southeast Asian Games next time following complaints from delegates ahead of the event's formal opening.

Duterte said the military are better organizers as he expressed his dismay over transportation and accommodation woes encountered by foreign participants.

"Itong mga ganito (These things) should be handled by the military. They are better organizers," he told reporters in Malacañang.

"Kaya next time itong mga ganun (Next time we host), the military will handle it kasi ang (because the) military is structural," the President added.

Malacañang earlier said President Duterte is "not pleased" with reported snafus in relation to the hosting of the Games and would launch an investigation into irregularities related to it.

The President explained that he wants to find out how the budget for the hosting of the Games was spent given that there were reported flaws.

"To me, personally, there was a lot of money poured into this activity now and I suppose that with that kind of money you can run things smoothly. Apparently, mayroong mga palpak (there were lapses)," he said.

"If that is the money there, what happened to the money?" he added.

Duterte, however, said House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, who heads the organizing committee, could not have been involved in corruption pending the probe. 

Delegates of the Games have complained of transportation problems, inadequate food and accommodation woes ahead of the formal opening of the regional sports tournament on Saturday.

The Palace had acknowledged mishaps pointed out by critics, saying organizers "should perform better services expected of them."

"The critics have a point. There is indeed something wrong with the preparations," Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

For the meantime, the President urged the public to remain calm as the country prepares for the formal opening of the Games.

"If you're a reasonable man, of which I am calling everybody upon, do not create a firestorm now because we are in the thick of preparations," he said.