Drilon doubts viability of P9-B SEAG facilities

Sen. Franklin Drilon. INQUIRER.net file photo

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Thursday questioned the financial viability of new facilities worth P9.5 billion built for the Southeast Asian Games  (SEAG) that the country is hosting from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.

The project also prompted the Senate to recall the submission for approval of the budget of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), which built the facilities, including an aquatics center, an athletics stadium and an athletes’ village.

Existing facilities were also repaired for the games, bringing the total spent so far to P12 billion.

Among the concerns that Drilon raised during a discussion on the budget of the Philippine Sports Commission was what the government planned to do with the facilities after the games.

“The experience around the world after the facilities are built, (is) a hit or miss proposition as to what to do with these facilities … The BCDA could have learned from this experience and come out with a plan so that these facilities don’t go to waste,” the senator said.

Sen. Christopher Go said the facilities could be used for future events, although their maintenance could easily run to P150 million to P200 million a year.  He added that the BCDA had a detailed plan for their use after the games and would submit these to Drilon.

But Drilon expressed reservations on the plan.

“With all due respect, I think this has not been thought out because this will be a burden on the budget with the maintenance costs. I can’t believe we can generate enough funds even just to maintain these,” he said.