Cayetano says cauldon for SEA Games flame not expensive
House Speaker Allan Peter Cayetano justified spending P55 million funding for the symbolic cauldron to be lit for during the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
During the Senate hearing on Tuesday, Cayetano as the chairman of Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) defended the budget for the cauldron in New Clark City Athletics Stadium.
The cauldron will hold the SEA Games flame from the opening ceremony on November 30 until the closing ceremony on December 11.
"The cauldron is the symbol. It's not just one of the symbols. It's the symbol of the games whether it's the Olympic Game or SEA Games. It's a work of art," said Cayetano.
"While other people see a cauldron, we see a monument. We see the athletes, we see the burning flames that represents hope and fighting spirit," he added.
On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon questioned the cost used for the 50-meter cauldron. Drilon described it as "too extravagant."
The allocated government budget for the cauldron designed by National Artist for Architecture Francisco Manosa was P4.4 million for the design, P13.4 million for the foundation of the cauldron, and P32 million for construction cost.
Cayetano said the cauldron built by Singapore four years ago for the 2015 SEA Games was more expensive costing around P63 million.
He also refuted that the expenses for the SEA Games is justified considering that the country will host the "biggest (SEA Games) in the history" with the most number of sports and about "a billion of viewers."
Still, Drilon said the allocated budget could have been used to construct at least 55 classrooms instead of the "luxurious" cauldron.
"For P50 million you want to have a kaldero (cauldron), it's a question of propriety. It's a question of priority," Drilon said.
"Do we really need that expensive facility, which has nothing to do with training? That is not an expense for training. That is luxury expense," he added.
Drilon maintained that he will file a resolution after the SEA Games to seek a Senate investigation on expenses for the sporting event.
"Let the athletes compete first and let us support our athletes. It's not their fault that there were abuse done in the budget," expressed Drilon.
"We need to support them so they can compete and bring honor to the country. But it doesn't mean that we will not question these expenses," he reiterated. Cristina Eloisa Baclig/DMS