Invoking the agreement it signed together with the Philippine Sports Commission, the Philippine Olympic Committee last Wednesday asked the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee to submit a comprehensive report on the operations of the 30th SEA Games, including an audited financial statement, by Oct. 10.
Meeting in an online session, the POC general assembly unanimously adopted the motion of athletics chief Philip Ella Juico in urging PHISGOC to submit a report, citing the ample time given to the latter since the 30th SEA Games wound up on December 11, 2019.
“Everybody must comply with the agreement, including the PHISGOC submitting periodic progress reports before, during and after the SEA Games. This includes finance, which was never done. This is being carried over too far into the future,” Juico said. “We (the POC) are exposing ourselves to risk as we keep on delaying this.
“Baka may mga nawala ng papel kapag pinatagal pa natin ito. (Some papers might be lost if we delay this further).”
World Archery Philippines president Atty. Clint Aranas agreed, pointing out that “we have given PHISGOC ample time in completing its report. Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been 9 months since the SEA Games was finished.”
A tax lawyer, Aranas said that even the Bureau of International Revenue required individuals to file their income tax returns within 45 days of a taxable quarter.
POC president Rep. Bambol Tolentino and secretary general Atty. Ed Gastanes has cited during the general assembly meeting the COVID-19 virus crisis for the delay in submitting the report.
Gastanes was a member of the joint PSC, POC and PHISGOC and SEA Games Task Force in charge of purchasing equipment and all other logistical requirements for the Games.
Juico and Aranas were referring to the agreement the PSC, POC and PHISGOC signed on Aug. 14, 2019 at Rizal Memorial Coliseum in delineating respective functions in the staging of the SEA Games.
The signatories to the agreement were PSC chairman William Ramirez, Tolentino and the PHISGOC Inc. led by Ramon Suzara, who was the chief operating officer of the Games.
The agreement was a prerequisite for the release of P6 billion from the national government to fund the operations of the biggest SEA Games featuring 56 sports, 530 events and more than 5,000 athletes and officials.
The money would be coursed through the Department of Budget and Management and remitted to the PSC for disbursement.
In the agreement, the PSC required “the proper and transparent conduct of bidding and procurement; monitor and inspect the program implementation and verify the financial records and reports of PHISGOC, and its compliance with COA government rules and regulations; demand the refund of unused funds or balance after project completion; and, if warranted, request the COA (Commission on Audit) of the PHISGOC on a case-to-case basis.
The POC, as the franchise holder of the SEA Games, was tasked “to monitor the performance of the obligations of PHISGOC under this agreement.”
The national Olympic body was also given the role of ensuring that PHISGOC accounts “for all the necessary expenses, including sponsorship solicitations, and liquidation of government support in accordance with relevant government rules and regulations.”
Besides the actual running of the SEA Games, the PHISGOC was asked to ensure that any government financial support “will not be used for money market placement, time deposit and other forms of investment not related to the hosting of the 30th SEA Games.”
It was likewise required to submit to the PSC and POC “all financial reports and make available all records, documents, including disbursement vouchers, relative to the utilization of the funds,” and “refund to the PSC any unutilized amount of the financial granted to the PHISGOC.”