PHISGOC assures SEA Games athletes’ woes resolved

Robie de Guzman   •   November 28, 2019   •   382

Gharib Khotibul Umam (2-R) of Indonesia in action against Malaysia defenders during the SEA Games 2019 men’s Floorball preliminary round match at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City, east of Manila, Philippines, 27 November 2019. EPA-EFE/ROLEX DELA PENA

MANILA, Philippines – Officials of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) has assured that issues raised by several athletes from participating countries have been sorted out.

In a press briefing Wednesday, PHISGOC chief operating officer Ramon “Tats” Suzara said issues on food, logistics, accommodation and unfinished venues have all been resolved before the SEA Games’ formal opening on Saturday, Nov. 30 at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.

“Two days ago, we had a chef de mission meeting, the first one here, and we tackled all the issues, the complaints, the requests and problems of the chef de mission and we have resolved everything,” Suzara said.

In the past few days, PHISGOC drew flak from netizens and the media over complaints from several athletes on inconveniences they claimed to have experienced, including logistics, lodging, far-off practice venues as well as food being served to delegates billeted in hotels.

It can be recalled that the coach of the Philippine women’s football team, Let Dimzon, earlier claimed that her team was served kikiam, along with rice and egg, for breakfast.

READ: PH football coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim, hotel says

The management of Whitewoods Convention and Leisure Hotel, which hosted the team, has clarified that athletes were served chicken sausage as part of a breakfast buffet, contrary to Dimzon’s claim.

It added that kikiam is not part of the hotel’s menu and that the chicken sausage was just part of a wider menu which included an omelet station, other assorted sausages, fruits, fruit juices, bread and rice.

“Our food serving is generous because we decided a free and open buffet service complete with egg omelet station that is not part of our contract,” it said in a statement.

According to Suzara, these issues are normal in terms of hosting big sporting events as there are always adjustments before the games’ formal opening.

“We want to put a rest on this. This is very normal. All of the athletes, you media, always before the opening ceremony, there are a lot of adjustments not only here but also in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia. There are a lot of games that you wait two hours, three hours in the airport so let’s help each other,” he said.

Suzara said there are more to the country’s hosting of the games than the mishaps encountered in the early staging of the games.

He said there are 52 venues for the sporting events and only a few of these were not completely ready when the football tournaments started on Monday.

He also urged the Philippine media to report positive stories instead to help motivate Filipino athletes to win in the competition.

“I’m appealing to all of you to give positive note on what we have done,” he said.

The 30th SEA Games being hosted in the country will formally open on Saturday, Nov. 30 and will end on Dec. 11.

De Lima wants probe into PH’s hosting of 2019 SEA Games

Robie de Guzman   •   December 18, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Detained Senator Leila de Lima on Wednesday said she has filed a resolution seeking an investigation into the alleged irregularities that marred the country’s hosting of the recently concluded 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.  

De Lima filed Senate Resolution No. 274 directing the appropriate Senate committee to conduct an investigation on the reported organizational and administrative problems, as well as possible corruption, which affected the biennial sports meet.

She said reports on organizational problems surrounding the country’s preparation “betray a political dynamic that could translate to even greater problems in our sports programs in the future.”

“As we celebrate our athletes’ most successful campaign in recent memory, it is likewise important for our government to scrutinize our performance both as a host country and as patrons to our athletes,” she said in a statement.

De Lima said that prior to its opening on Nov. 30, the country’s hosting of the SEA Games has been beset by organizational issues, including early troubles with transportation and accommodations of teams from Myanmar, Timor-Leste and Cambodia, accreditation issues and lack of halal food for Singaporean delegation, and even problems with accreditation of media.

She also said that several volunteers for the SEA Games also aired their grievances over the alleged lack of system and coordination.

De Lima likewise noted the criticisms on the allegedly exorbitant 50-meter tall cauldron-type structure, which costs P50 million, for the lighting of the torch.

“Proper management and governance necessitate that we conduct an inquiry on the recently concluded SEA Games, especially after the problems encountered were duly documented by the mass media,” she said.

The lawmaker also underscored the need to scrutinize the organizational structure through which the country hosts international sporting events “to ensure that the funds will be properly given to institutions with the mandate and capability to properly utilize them.

“There is a need to investigate the existing sports legislation to ensure that support and funding are given to the agencies that have the proper mandate and that accountability lies even with private organizations, especially those who have access to government resources,” she said.

“While problems of disorganization, incompetence, and inefficiency can be resolved through institutional mechanisms, what cannot be countenanced is the scandalous probability that in the middle of all this disorganization and incompetence, certain high public officials still might have enriched themselves in the procurement of government contracts for the hosting of the games,” she added.

Officials of the Philippine Sports Commission and the SEA Games organizing committee earlier attributed the delays in the preparation of the biennial meet to the delayed passage of the 2019 national budget.

DILG commends PNP, LGUs for ‘safest SEA Games ever’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 13, 2019

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has lauded the Philippine National Police (PNP) and local government units (LGUs) for the “safest Southeast Asian (SEA) Games” in history.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said there were no serious or major untoward incidents reported that marred the SEA Games.

“Naipakita natin ang ‘Filipino hospitality’ at ang bayanihan ng pulisya, nasyunal at lokal na mga pamahalaan, private sector at media (We have shown the ‘Filipino hospitality’ and the cooperation of the national police and the local government, private sector and media). This will go down in history as the best and safest ever,” he said.

There were 27,440 police officers deployed to site task groups during the whole duration of the SEA Games.

In Metro Manila alone, there were 18,105 officers securing the competitions; 6,554 in Central Luzon; 1,865 in Southern Luzon; and 916 in La Union.

“We will not rest until all the foreign athletes, coaches and staff have left the country. We are committed 100% to their safety and well-being. Congrats to the PNP for a job well done!,” Año addded.—AAC

Duterte to give incentives to SEA Games athletes on Dec. 18

Marje Pelayo   •   December 13, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – All athletes who participated in the recently concluded 30th South East Asian Games (SEA Games) will be awarded and will get additional incentives from President Rodrigo Duterte.

The ceremony will be held at the Malacañang on December 18, Senator Bong Go told reporters.

The former Special Assistant to the President said the President is also giving the Order of Lapu-Lapu Award to all the athletes.

“Lahat ng gold medalist, silver medalist at ang bronze medalists ay makakatanggap ng Lapu-Lapu Award mula sa Pangulo (All gold, silver and bronze medalists will receive the Lapu-Lapu Award from the President),” Go said.

Among the recipients will be the ‘hero’ surfer Roger Casugay for exemplifying the Filipino value of bayanihan and showing the true spirit of sportsmanship when he chose to save his Indonesian competitor over his quest for a gold medal.

Go said the incentives and the awards are on top of what the athletes deserve to receive as mandated by law. – MNP (with inputs from Dante Amento)

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