It is no secret that the Southeast Asian Game stadium cauldron is estimated to cost around Php 55 million. Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon was among the first to question the installation of the structure, calling it ‘extravagant and unnecessary’.
The constroversial stadium cauldron, to be lit on the official opening upcoming 30th Southeast Asian Game on November 30, is nestled outside the New Clark City Stadium in Tarlac. The structure was designed by the late Francisco ‘Bobby’ Maňosa, a National Artist for Architecture.
“Insofar as I’m concerned, P55 million is an extravagance that is so unnecessary and somebody has to answer for this. Yung isang silid-paaralan ay P1 million. So, 55 silid-paaralan yung nabuo sana kung hindi dahil dito sa pang-aabuso sa pondo ng pamahalaan,” states Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, in an article by Manila Times.
The Php 55 million is broken down as follows: Php 4.4 million for design, Php 13.4 million for foundation, and Php 32 million for construction. Despite interjecting, Drilon clarified that he has no intention of stopping the upcoming games.
“No. In fact that is why I terminated my interpellation, because we have to support our athletes. Hindi naman nila kasalanan itong pang-aabuso na nakikita natin. We need to support them so they can compete and bring honor to our country. But it doesn’t mean that we will not question these expenses. Let us help the athletes compete first and let us support our athletes. There is time for all of these and the time is after the SEA Games,” adds Drilon.
Drilon also asked the senate to summon Tats Suzara, the Chief Operation Officer of the Philippines Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee to be present during the budget deliberation of the Philippine Sports Commission. The private entity has apparently been allotted Php 700 million in public funds. Read more: Drilon blasts Php55 million cauldron.
Moreover, the seemingly overpriced cauldron was lambasted by the public. Even notable figures pitched in. Gretchen Malalad, Southeast Asian Games 2005 Gold Medalist for Karate, shared her thoughts.
“The athletes don’t need a 50M cauldron. Come on! yang kaldero na yan dapat nilagay sa budget ng kalderong pangkain! Idagdag niyo na lng sana sa food budget ng atleta. O di kaya para sa training,” states Malalad, “Walang budget! Walang budget! Hindi na approve.’ Yan lagi naririnig ng mga atleta kapag nag request ng funds for training and exposure abroad. Pero may budget ang gobyerno para sa 50M na kaldero,” she adds.
Even celebrity Agot Isidro joined in stating, “sa gaguhan na ganito napupunta ang buwis natin,” she said. “Game ka pa ba, Pilipinas?” she asks. Singer Lead Navarro tweeted, “Good grief. P50M for an unimpressive, ugly, one-time use butane lighter?! Damn, the shameless overpricing by this gov’t. Well, it’s never been known for it’s honesty or propriety.”