Cayetano to P50M SEAG cauldron critics: P10B APEC 2015 budget good for 10K classrooms
MANILA, Philippines — Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday lashed back at former President Benigno C. Aquino III who had schooled the government on budget prioritization following the backlash on the P50-million 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games stadium cauldron.
Cayetano countered Aquino’s comment on the issue by saying the previous administration could have built 10,000 classrooms with the budget it allotted in hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in 2015.
Cayetano also bared that Aquino asked them then not to criticize the APEC hosting during that time.
“Nakalimutan niya (Aquino) na kinausap niya ako nung ako ay Majority Leader sa Senado at nakita ko sa budget, 10 billion pesos para sa APEC… At ano ang sabi niya sa amin? ‘Wag kayong mag-ingay before and during, dahil lahat ng bansa, international press, nandito…,” the Taguig-Pateros representative recounted in an interview in Capas, Tarlac where they inspected some of the venues for the upcoming SEA Games on Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.
(Aquino might have forgotten that he talked to me when I was Senate Majority Leader and I saw that the budget for APEC was P10 billion… and what did he tell us? ‘Don’t criticize before and during the event because all countries, the international press will be here…’)
“Ilan ba ang dapat nagawang classroom kung hindi natin hinost ang APEC? 10,000 classrooms, tapos… P50 million, titirahin nila… Namamahalan kayo sa P50 million, pero sa P10 billion, okay lang sa inyo,” he added.
(How many classrooms could have been built if we did not host the APEC? It’s 10,000 classrooms… and then you’ll hit the P50 million budget for the cauldron… You say the P50 million is expensive, but the P10 billion budget for APEC is fine with you.)
Cayetano also lamented that Aquino and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, who first brought up the cauldron issue, refused to stop their tirades for the sake of the athletes.
“Nalulungkot po talaga ‘ko nung napanood ko ang ating dating Pangulong Aquino na nagpa-interview yesterday. Bakit? E, first of all, nag-announce sila nung Tuesday ng ceasefire. Sabi nila, para sa mga atleta, para sa ating bansa…” the House leader said.
(It was really unfortunate when I watched former president Aquino being interviewed yesterday. Why? First of all, they announced a ceasefire last Tuesday. They say it’s for the athletes, it’s for the country.)
“E araw-araw nasa TV e. Talagang ‘yung all-talk lang, Operation All-talk Lang, parang 2022 na siguro nasa isip,” he added.(But almost every day they are granting TV interviews. Definitely just all talk, Operation All-talk, they seem to be thinking of the 2022 national elections already.)
Cayetano has repeatedly defended the controversial cauldron, saying it was a work of art and was even cheaper than the one built by Singapore when iy hosted the SEA Games in 2015.
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