P55-M SEA Games cauldron cheaper than Singapore's, Cayetano counters

Rosette Adel - Philstar.com
P55-M SEA Games cauldron cheaper than Singapore's, Cayetano counters
This image shows the 2019 SEA Games cauldron that would be used during the torch lighting ceremony.
BCDA / Released

'Most classrooms now cost P2.5 million,' Rep. Salceda adds

MANILA, Philippines— House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano (Taguig), also the chair of the Philippine Southeast Asia Games Organizing Committee, on Tuesday defended the price of the controversial SEA Games cauldron.

According to Cayetano, the country’s SEA Games cauldron which is pegged at P55 million is cheaper than the one used when when Singapore hosted the games. That cauldron cost around P63 million, he said.

Singapore's Gross Domestic Product in 2018 was $491.2 billion, up from $467.3 in 2017, the Singapore Department of Statistics reports. Its Gross National Income per person was $81,222 in 2018 from $77,474 the previous year.

According to the Asian Development Bank, the Philippines' GDP was at P9,206.9 billion in 2018 from P15,806.4 billion in 2017. Per capita Gross National Income was P196,155 in 2018 against P181,152 in 2017.

'Cauldron worth it'

Cayetano said that the cauldron is priceless, citing that it was designed by late Francis “Bobby” Mañosa, a national artist for architecture.

"It's a requirement in all the games because it symbolizes the games, the competition, the spirit ‘no? So, ‘pag tinanggal mo ‘to, (if we remove this), what price tag can you put on that?," Cayetano said.

"Is it expensive, yes. But is it worth it? It’s priceless, it’s a work of art," he added.

During the Senate plenary deliberations on the proposed budget for the Bases Conversion and Development Authority on Monday, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon questioned the construction of the giant cauldron.

He was also questioning why the cauldron was built at the cost of 50 classrooms.

READ: Drilon questions P50-M SEA Games cauldron: We could've built 50 classrooms

Sen. Sonny Angara, for his part, also defended the construction of the cauldron and said that the government “was really envisioning was to do a really impressive hosting of the games and showcase Philippine ingenuity by using Philippine creative designers and performers.”

The country is hosting the biennial sports event for the fourth time. The 30th edition would be held from November 30 to December 11.

Angara also earlier said that it was the 18th Congress that approved the budget for the SEA Games hosting.

In a separate interview, Rep. Joey Salceda (Albay, 2nd District) said the P55 million was part of the P6-billion lumpsum allotted for the staging of the SEA Games.

He said that they can review the breakdown of the hosting but it was only indicated under SEA Games facilities.

'Cauldron's price is reasonable but Imeldific'

The lawmaker also said he found both the P6-billion budget for the SEA Games hosting and the P55-million budget for cauldron reasonable for a huge sports event.

Salceda disagree with Drilon’s comparison of the P55-million budget to the amount allotted for building of classrooms.

“Karamihan ng classroom P2.5 million na ngayon e,” he added, which would mean the money paid for the giant cauldron would only be enough to build 22 classrooms, not 50.

(Most classrroms are now worth P2.5 million)

The solon said that while he found it reasonable, he described the cauldron as “Imeldific”—a reference to ostentation and excess associated with former First Lady Imelda Marcos—which he said is understandable under a “benevolent” and “authoritative” government and leader.

‘Yung P55 million mukhang reasonable naman kaso !meldific ‘yung dating, may grandiosity. Authoritarian regimes are always you know… You need to symbolize,” he said.

(The P55 million looks reasonable but Imeldific in a way, there’s grandiosity. Authoritarian regimes are always you know… You need to symbolize)

Asked if he considers the Duterte regime authoritarian, Salceda backpedaled and said that authoritative is the right term.

He added that the Philippines has a strong president and that the nation is coming of age. —With reports from The STAR/Paolo Romero







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