Former President Benigno Aquino III said more pressing matters should have been prioritized with the money.
The STAR/KJ Rosales, File
Aquino: We could have built a cheaper SEA Games cauldron
Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - November 20, 2019 - 3:49pm

MANILA, Philippines — Former President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday asserted that administrations should bear in mind proper allocation when working with appropriations amid outrage over the price tag attached to the P50 million cauldron commissioned for the SEA Games.

He said that more pressing matters should have been prioritized with the money. 

It was designed by late national artist for architecture Bobby Mañosa, costing P4.4 million for its design and P32 million for its construction.

“Ang prioridad ‘yata hindi itong [SEA] Games na ilang linggo [lang]. Baka mas prioridad ‘yung pinag-aral natin ‘yung mga bata,” the former president added.

(I think the priority is not the SEA Games which will only last for more than a week. I think we should instead prioritize education for the youth.)

“Ako sang-ayon ako sa sinabi ni Senator Drilon, pwede tayong maglagay ng ganyang simbolo para dun sa [SEA] Games na hindi naman ganun kamahal,” Aquino told reporters.

(I agree with Senator Drilon in that we could have built a cheaper cauldron.)

Sen. Franklin Drilon earlier slammed the exorbitant price for the monument earlier on Monday.

“A P50-million kaldero. Do you realize that at P1 million per classroom this can construct 50 classrooms?" he said at the Senate’s plenary deliberation of the Philippine Sports Commission's 2020 budget.

"In other words, we did away with 50 classrooms in exchange for one kaldero."

Rep. Joey Salceda (Albay), who is also the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, in an interview on ANC’s “Headstart” in the cauldron's defense said that classrooms no longer cost P1 million today.  

He also said that the P55 million was part of the P6-billion lump sum that was allotted for the staging of the games, which he argued was already a small amount to put aside for such an undertaking. 

'A work of art'

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

Cayetano added that it was still cheaper than the P63-million one that Singapore purchased when the country hosted the SEA Games. 

President Rodrigo Duterte has made it clear that he supports the monument despite the sizable costs that came with it. 

“You cannot debate with a painter. You create a symbolism of the athletic activity, [and] nothing is extravagance there,” he said.

BENIGNO AQUINO III SEA GAMES
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