‘We cannot afford to fail’ as SEA Games host – Duterte
MANILA, Philippines — “We cannot afford to fail. ’Di tayo pwedeng mapahiya.”
[We can’t lose face.]
Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, former presidential aide, said this was what President Rodrigo Duterte told him amid logistical issues hounding the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast (SEA) Games.
“The President and I were able to talk last night,” Go, speaking in Filipino told reporters in an interview on Wednesday. “He said: ‘Just keep going and we’ll discuss the complaints later on. With barely four days to go, we can’t afford to fail, we are the host country, we can’t be humiliated.’ That’s what he said.”
“Tell them to continue working on what needs to be done, to keep going, to unite,” Go furhter quoted Duterte as saying.
Earlier, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte would want the SEA Games mess, including the allegations of “incompetence and corruption,” investigated.
Go, chair of the Senate sports committee, had also previously said he would initiate a probe on the matter.
“For now, we are observing, looking at the irregularities. If there’s corruption, we’re looking into it. We’re gathering reports,” the senator said.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros, for her part, backed calls for an inquiry into the country’s hosting of the regional sports meet.
“All senators have repeatedly affirmed our support for our athletes and to wait until after the SEA Games for an investigation into the, well, failure, or alleged corruption. And for sure we will get to that matter,” Hontiveros said, speaking partly in Filipino.
Issues surrounding the SEA Games were highlighted after the national football teams of four countries complained of getting messy receptions on their arrival in Manila last weekend.
Players from Timor-Leste and Myanmar had to wait for hours at the airport when they arrived in Manila.
Problems over the supposed lack of the quality of food served to athletes also arose.
The P50-million cauldron for the games was also earlier put into question, among other spendings for the event.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri joined calls to halt the squabble over the SEA Games for now.
“Maybe let’s stop the squabble for the next two weeks, this will just go by quickly. Maybe we could focus on supporting Team Philippines. As we say, we win as one, but we must act as one because we cannot win as one if we are all fighting,” Zubiri said, speaking partly in Filipino.
“Without the support of our Filipino people and Filipino fans, we will not have the home-court advantage that we need so we need the cheerleaders, we need the Filipino to cheer for our team,” he said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.