Cost of SEA Games cauldron 'proportional to newer, bolder character of the Filipino' — Salceda

Franco Luna - Philstar.com
Cost of SEA Games cauldron 'proportional to newer, bolder character of the Filipino' � Salceda
This image shows the 2019 SEA Games cauldron that would be used during the torch lighting ceremony.
BCDA / Released

MANILA, Philippines — A now controversial P55-million cauldron that will be lit for the Southeast Asian Games is "reasonable," the chair of the House Ways and Means committee said Tuesday, although he admitted it is a little "Imeldific" — or ostentatious.

Rep. Joey Salceda (Albay) in an interview on ANC’s “Headstart” said that the P55 million was already part of the P6-billion lump sum that was allotted for the staging of the games. 

“Six billion is already small [for] hosting games like that. We can oversight it, usually,” he said.

“Mukhang reasonable naman kaso may, ano, Imeldific 'yung dating. May grandiosity."

The cauldron was designed by the late national artist for architecture Bobby Mañosa. Its cost totals P4.4 million for its design, with P32 million allotted for its construction.

This came after Sen. Franklin Drilon slammed the exorbitant price for the monument. “A 50-million kaldero. Do you realize that at P1 million per classroom this can construct 50 classrooms? In other words, we did away with 50 classrooms in exchange for one kaldero,” he said Monday at the Senate’s plenary deliberation.

Salcedo, whose committee handles financial matters, said, however, that the number of classrooms that could have been build instead is closer to 22, saying most classrooms cost P2.5 million to build. "There are no more P1-million classrooms," he said in Filipino.

'Authoritarian regimes'

"Well, authoritarian regimes are always, you know, because you need to symbolize…" Salceda also said as he justified the construction of the cauldron.

Asked whether he meant that the Duterte administration is an authoritarian regime, he clarified that it "in consequence, but not in character."

"It’s a strong government. The next government is likely to be weak. Authoritative and decisive is a better word. Usually in periods such as this, where there is a very strong president and a nation is coming of age," he also said.

He said the P55-million price tag for the cauldron is "proportional to the newer and bolder character of the Filipino as coming of age [and] breaking into the field of the emerging tigers."

“It personifies the new character of the Filipinas being a strong economy, [at] talagang naka-pokus ako sa A-rating,” he added. 

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, who also sits as chairman of the organizing committee for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, defended the monument, calling it a “priceless work of art.” 

In the cauldron’s defense, Cayetano said, it was still cheaper than the P63-million one that Singapore purchased when the country hosted the SEA Games. 

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