PHISGOC chief assures financial statement on the way after POC demands report

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 07 2020 03:18 PM

PHISGOC chief assures financial statement on the way after POC demands report 1
Ramon Suzara, PHISGOC Chief Operating Officer, speaks at a briefing for the 2019 SEA Games at the World Trade Center in Pasay, Nov. 27, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) on Wednesday assured that its financial report on the 30th SEA Games was on the verge of completion, after the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) asked for the document last week.

PHISGOC president and COO Ramon Suzara also clarified that out of the P6-billion government funding for the SEA Games, their organization received only P1.481 billion as financial support from the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).

"We clarify that out of the total P6-billion Philippine government budget for the 30th SEA Games under GAA2019, the PSC has only provided the amount of P1.481 billion as financial support to the Organizing Committee," said Suzara in a letter that was sent to POC secretary-general Atty. Edwin Gastanes.

PHISGOC chairman and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, PSC chairman William "Butch" Ramirez, and POC president Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino also received copies of the letter.

Suzara said it was only last September 4 that the PSC completed remitting the amount to PHISGOC, "from which we settled the lawful and valid obligations incurred for the hosting of the 30th SEA Games covered by said financial support."

The remainder of the SEA Games budget, amounting to P4.52 billion, was remitted to the Department of Budget and Management Procurement Service, and a certain amount also to the POC, or used directly by PSC for the equipment and services used for the 30th SEA Games.

Suzara issued the clarification on behalf of PHISGOC, after POC board member Clint Aranas of World Archery Philippines and athletics chief Philip Ella Juico revealed their intent to file charges against certain POC officials -- including Tolentino -- for the organizing committee's "failure to provide a financial statement on the SEA Games expenses."

Juico, in a recent virtual meeting of the POC board, had filed a motion urging PHISGOC to file its report. The motion was unanimously adopted by the board.

"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," said Juico.

Aranas said PHISGOC has been given "ample time" to complete its financial report.

"Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been nine months since the SEA Games was finished," he pointed out.

Aranas has reportedly said that he is readying a legal team to file a case on POC members who are part of the PHISGOC board because of their failure to submit an audited report.

Suzara called Aranas and Juico's statement "premature," and accused them of pulling a "media stunt" in bad faith.

"We would appreciate receiving POC's letter first, rather than hearing about their stunt in the media intended to undermine PHISGOC," said Suzara. "Kindly remind them that the POC and PSC are integral parts of PHISGOC, and their actions unnecessarily cast aspersions on the integrity of all these institutions." 

"At any rate, rest assured that PHISGOC has already substantially liquidated said financial support received from PSC," he added. "To date, we are nearing completion of our submitted liquidation reports to PSC covering said financial support received by the Organizing Committee."

"Upon full submission of our liquidation reports to PSC, our external auditors shall be able to finally conclude PHISGOC's audited financial statement covering all funds received and used for the 30th SEA Games," he added. "We shall finish our relevant financial and operational reports in the coming weeks, and submit the same to the PSC copy furnished POC in due course."

Juico, in his resolution, set a deadline of October 10 for the PHISGOC report. However, this was not supported by POC president Tolentino, who said he did not want to put more burden on the accounting of PHISGOC.

"On the reason for the delay, I am confident that it will be submitted in due time and I have patience on sensitive matters as such in order to have an orderly accounting," said Tolentino, also the country's cycling chief.

Meanwhile, it was revealed on Tuesday that PHISGOC has yet to settle a P387-million debt to SEA Games service providers, nearly a year after the biennial meet.

The Philippines hosted the SEA Games in December 2019, with Filipino athletes emerging as overall champions.