Sotto hits 'too hospitable' Philippines amid SEA Games mess

Sotto hits 'too hospitable' Philippines amid SEA Games mess
Photo shows Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto.
Senate PRIB / Albert Calvelo

MANILA, Philippines — While President Rodrigo Duterte wants an investigation into issues surrounding the Philippines' hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games, Senate President Tito Sotto defended the lack of food for athletes participating in the biennial meet.

The head coach of the Philippine Women's National Football Team, along with coaches of six other participating countries in the football tournament, earlier complained of the meals served to the athletes.

Women's football coach Let Dimzon said the quality and quantity of food is not enough for the athletes as they were served rice, kikiam and eggs for breakfast.

Sotto, who competed in the men's 10-pin bowling competition in the 1978 SEA Games in Thailand, recalled his experience when he competed.

"In the SEA/Asian games I've participated in, we were left by the host country to fend for orselves. If possible, they even make us uncomfortable to make sure we lose to them," Sotto said.

The senator recalled that they used to spend for their own meals and other expenses when he competed in the SEA Games decades ago.

Sotto said the public should stop bickering about "petty things" surrounding the country's hosting of the event.

"Why do you think the host country always wins? The host country is not supposed to feed them," Sotto said.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier said Duterte was "displeased" upon hearing news about the experience of SEA Games athletes due to issues on food, transportation and accommodation.

SEA Games organizing committee chair and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano had apologized for the "inefficiencies" experienced by the athletes.

National football teams of Timor Leste, Myanmar and Cambodia complained of having to wait for hours at the airport for their ride that would bring them to their hotels.

Thailand's men's football team had to cancel their training following the delay of their travel from the airport to the hotel due to the traffic situation in Metro Manila.

"To the foreign teams, we are apologizing for the inconvenience and if I may call some inefficiencies or miscoordination," Cayetano said Sunday night. — Patricia Lourdes Viray

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