In this Nov. 25, 2019 photo, workers are in haste for renovations of the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila, the venue for the football competitions for the 30th SEA Games.
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman
NUJP hits back at PHISGOC: Don't blame media for SEA Games mess
Patricia Lourdes Viray (Philstar.com) - November 28, 2019 - 9:42am

MANILA, Philippines — Media reports on the shortcomings of the organizing committee should not be blamed for issues surrounding the Philippines' hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said.

Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee officials earlier told the media to focus on positive news instead of "isolated cases" of blunders the past days.

"This is very normal, all of us, athletes and you media, you’ve been to the Games… we all encounter such problems from the airport to the hotel. So I’m appealing to all of you to be on positive mode," PHISGOC CEO Ramon Suzara said in a press conference Wednesday.

In response to Suzara, the NUJP pointed out that the duty of the press is to report things based on verifiable facts and "not to pander to anyone's perception of what is, or should be."

"It becomes ridiculously unacceptable when the officials responsible for the disaster resort to bashing media as well, as if the reports on their shortcomings were to blame for the disaster," the NUJP said in a statement.

The NUJP added that attempting to dictate what the media should report has no place in a democracy, such as the Philippines.

"The truth is, shining the light of truth on the state of the SEA games preparations can only help ensure that our nation and people be spared from being so humiliated in the future," the statement read.

President Rodrigo Duterte himself was "displeased" when he heard about the experiences of foreign athletes upon arriving in the country.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the president wants an investigation into the issues hounding the country's hosting of the biennial event.

"There were allegations of fraud that appeared in newspapers and he does not like that. He wants to investigate that. He does not tolerate corruption," Panelo said.

National football teams of Timor Leste, Myanmar, Cambodia and Thailand have complained about waiting for hours at the airport for the ride that would take them to their hotel. Some of the teams had to cancel training due to the delays in their travel. 

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano had apologized for the traffic condition in Metro Manila.

PHISGOC Chairperson and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano had apologized to the foreign athletes for the logistical issues they experienced last weekend.

"To the foreign teams, we are apologizing for the inconvenience and if I may call some inefficiencies or miscoordination," Cayetano said, adding that the foreign athletes will be provided with better service in the next days.

NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES SEA GAMES SEA GAMES 2019
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