Drilon hits 30th SEA Games’ P50M-worth ‘kaldero’

Marje Pelayo   •   November 18, 2019   •   451

MANILA, Philippines – Days before the much-awaited Philippine hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games, Senator Franklin Drilon sparked controversy into what he claims as ‘extravagant’ cauldron designed for the regional meet.

During the Senate’s deliberation of the budget of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) on Monday (November 18), the Senate Minority Leader hit the agency for spending too much for the metal structure.

“Masyadong extravagant ang mahiwaga, pinakamalaki at pinakamahal na kaldero sa buong mundo sa kasaysayan ng ating bansa – P55 million para sa kaldero (It’s too extravagant – the mysterious, largest and the costliest cauldron in the world and in the history of our country – P55 million for a cauldron),” Drilon said.

Overall, the government has P16.5 billion budget for the Philippines’ hosting of the 30th SEA Games.

But Senate Committee on Finance Chair Senator Sonny Angara defended why the cauldron costs that much.

 “The kaldero (cauldron) is made of steel which accounts for its high cost,” Angara argued.

BCDA President and CEO Vince Dizon added that the use of the cauldron is not only for this year’s Asian Games but for other future purposes.

“I’m talking about world-class sports facilities not only to be used for games such as the Southeast Asian Games but also can be used to serve as the training hub of our athletes,” Dizon explained.

Drilon, however, was dissatisfied with Dizon’s argument.

He said he is determined to file a resolution to investigate the spending in relation to the SEA Games immediately after the regional event is over.

Drilon also called on the Commission on Audit (COA) to launch its own special audit on the expenditures of the SEA Games. – MNP (with details from Nel Maribojoc)

PNP raises full alert status in several SEA Games venue; HPG deploys personnel as security for convoys

Maris Federez   •   November 25, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police has raised the full alert status in several venues of the Southeast Asian Games.

The full alert status that starts Monday morning and will end on December 14 covers regions 1, 3, 4-A, and the National Capital Region where the games are going to take place.

PNP Spokesperson PBGen. Bernard Banac said around 27,000 police personnel were deployed in these regions to ensure security for the whole duration of the event.

“Other police regional offices and national administrative support unit will remain heightened alert the entire duration of the 30th SEA Games,” Banac said.

He added that even the PNP-Highway Patrol Group (HPG) has deployed 101 motorcycles, 29 mobile patrol units, and 175 personnel to secure the convoy of the SEA Games delegates.

“Prepared to response contingency scenarios such as road crashes, medical emergencies, bis breakdown at CPR emergencies at the NLEX and other crowded roads,” he said.

This number is aside from the motorcycle units that will be deployed by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

The PNP-Police Security and Protection Group (PSPG) will also provide 519 personnel to give security to the delegates from the billeting areas to the designated venues. (from the report of Lea Ylagan) /mbmf

Duterte defends controversial SEA Games cauldron

Marje Pelayo   •   November 20, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte defended the controversial stadium cauldron for the 30th South East Asian Games (SEA Games) happening from November 30 to December 11.

The issue stemmed from Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon questioning the amount spent for the cauldron which allegedly has reached P50 million during the Senate deliberation on the proposed 2020 budget of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).

Drilon said such a huge amount could be used to construct school rooms.

The Chief Executive said, the price was reasonable because it included the honorarium for national artist Bobby Mañosa who designed the monument.

“Itong si Mañosa was commissioned to create iyong nakitang kaldero ngayon (what you see now as the cauldron). It is the product of the mind,” the President said.

Based on report, the design alone costs P4.48 million while the foundation costs P13.5 million.

The labor and construction, meanwhile, costs P32 million.

“You cannot estimate how much nalugi ka (your loss) because it is the rendition of the mind of the creator. Kung iyan ang singil niya, huwag mong bilhin kung ayaw mo (If that’s his price, don’t buy it if you don’t like it),” Duterte said. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Drilon, Robredo camp hit Cayetano’s ‘all talk’ remarks

Robie de Guzman   •   November 12, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon hit House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano for his “totally uncalled for” remarks against Vice President Leni Robredo.

“I am saddened by his statement. Such comments are totally uncalled for, especially coming from the Speaker of the House,” Drilon said in a statement.

Cayetano earlier said that Robredo is “all talk” since her appointment as the co-chairperson of the inter-agency committee on anti-illegal drugs (ICAD).

President Rodrigo Duterte last week designated Robredo to co-lead the government’s body against illegal drugs.

Since then, she has been meeting with several groups to float her ideas to address the country’s drug problem, such as scrapping the “Oplan Tokhang” and implementing a health-based anti-drug campaign.

Instead of criticizing Robredo, Drilon said everyone should support the government’s war on drugs and set aside politics.

“It cannot be denied that illegal drug continues to be a problem, notwithstanding the over 5,000 deaths from Operation Tokhang,” he said.

“The gravity of this issue on illegal drugs calls for everyone to set aside politics. In the remaining two and a half years of the administration, we should all work together to solve this problem,” he added.

The senator also noted that even Malacañang has vowed full support for Robredo as she undertakes this task.

“We expect the allies of this administration to do no less,” he added.

Meanwhile, Robredo’s spokesperson and legal counsel, Barry Gutierrez, said the vice president has only begun doing her new task and told Cayetano to stop criticizing if he can’t help her do her job.

Gutierrez also said the entire government should unite to eradicate illegal drugs in the country.

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