MANILA - A regional Olympic official on Monday lauded President Rodrigo Duterte and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano for apologizing for "some problems in the beginning" of the 30th Southeast Asian Games, saying the feat was a "first" in sport's history.
Duterte earlier apologized for food and transportation issues that marred the first few days of the SEA Games, saying the government "cannot just cast away the discomfort, the suffering of the athletes."
Cayetano, who also chairs the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC), also apologized and labeled the "inconveniences" as "inefficiencies or miscoordination."
"To have some problems in the beginning of the game, in all the games, including Asian Games, we have similar happenings," said Wei Jizhong, vice president of the Olympic Council of Asia.
"But the republic government and the speaker of the parliament apologized, this is the first time. I have never heard of it before," he said.
With Philippine leaders owning up to lapses, the Philippines shows that it is ready to host more "bigger-scale games," he said.
"That (apologizing) means the high authority of the country is keen to provide the athletes with the best condition," he said.
Wei was also impressed with the facilities constructed for the SEA Games, PHISGOC chief operating officer Ramon Suzara said.
"Noong nakita niya ’yung Clark, sabi niya ang ibang bansa walang ganu’n. Sinabihan kami na, 'Why not bid for 2030 for that kind of facility?'" he told reporters.
"Walang masama sumubok 10 years from now."