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De Lima seeks probe into SEA Games mess

/ 06:23 PM December 18, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Leila de Lima has filed a resolution pushing for the immediate investigation into alleged irregularities that hounded the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

De Lima filed Senate Resolution No. 274 which directed the appropriate Senate committee to conduct an inquiry on the reported organizational and administrative problems that marred the biennial sports meet.

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“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 on Wednesday

“The reports on organizational problems surrounding our preparation betrays a political dynamic that could translate to even greater problems in our sports programs in the future,” she added.

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De Lima noted that the country’s recent hosting of the SEA Games were 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 Singapore’s delegation, and even problems with accreditation of media even before the games’ opening on November 30.

Among questions raised on the government’s spending for the SEA Games are the P50-million estimated cost for the design and construction of a stadium cauldron, and the P700 million fund transfer to Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) which is a private foundation.

De Lima said that the Senate should look into the “scandalous probability” that certain high public officials “still might have enriched themselves in the procurement of government contracts for the hosting of the games” in the middle of “all this disorganization and incompetence.”

“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,” De Lima went on.

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

House Speaker and Phisgoc chair Alan Peter Cayetano has already apologized for the inconveniences experienced by the delegates.

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Ombudsman Samuel Martires earlier announced the creation of a fact-finding panel that would look into allegations against the conduct of the SEA Games.

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TAGS: investigation, Nation, news, PHISGOC, Probe, SEA Games 2019, Senator Leila de Lima
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