MANILA- The Philippines needs a showcase song that reflects the whole country, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said Monday following criticism on the use of the song "Manila" for the 30th Southeast Asian Games opening ceremony.
Panelo agreed with the criticism of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio that organizers should be "inclusive" if they want to encourage Filipinos to cheer on the athletes in these Games.
"Tama si Mayor Sara. We need to have a song that will reflect not only Manila but the entire Philippines. Wala pa eh," Panelo told reporters.
"It seems that Manila was used because that is the most popular song in relation to the Filipinos," he added.
"Manila," a song by 1970s Filipino band Hotdog, was played during the entrance of the Philippine contingent last Saturday and many in the crowd during the opening ceremony, including President Rodrigo Duterte, jived to the song.
Duterte-Carpio questioned the use of the song, saying its upbeat tune should not be used as an excuse.
"Di po ba Philippine flag ang dala? Why would you play the song Manila? Did Lapu-Lapu die for Manila? Wag po natin gawing excuse ang upbeat danceable song. Kami nag-imbento ng budots. Kaloko man oi," Duterte-Carpio said.
(Did they not carry the Philippine flag? Why would you play the song "Manila?" Did Lapu-Lapu die for Manila? Let's not make the excuse that it was an upbeat danceable song. We invented "budots.")
The Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC), however, said the opening ceremony was "as inclusive as it can be."
"That song was representative of Manila as the capital of the Philippines. When we welcome someone in Manila, it means you’re welcoming everyone to the Philippines," PHISGOC spokesman Jarie said on Sunday.