‘No assurance’ on full Southeast Asian Games budget
Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) - February 16, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines —  The Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee will have to make do with the Senate-approved P5 billion budget for Phisgoc to stage the “best and biggest” Southeast Asian Games in history.

Philippine Sports Commission chairman William Ramirez, who sits as co-chairman of Phisgoc, told The STAR yesterday it’s quite unlikely for organizers to get the amount they had intended to use for the Games.

Not even Malacanang could provide what Phisgoc wants – a budget that was pegged at P7.5 billion but was cut by the Senate to P5 billion.

“No assurance,” said Ramirez when asked what transpired during Wednesday’s meeting at Malacañang among the PHISGOC brass led by former senator and former Foreign Affairs head Alan Peter Cayetano, Philippine Olympic Committee president Ricky Vargas and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.

Representatives from the Budget Department and the Public Works and Highways graced the meeting along with POC chairman Rep. Abraham Tolentino.

Phisgoc had hoped that with the intervention of Malacañang, the Senate would have a change of heart and provide organizers of the 30th SEA Games the budget it wants or the amount it needs.

“With a 33 percent cut, mahirap. Estimate namin to have the level of hosting we want, international standard, security, venues, broadcast, etc., we need about P6 billion,” Cayetano said. “Part of our meeting (with Medialdea) is paano mapupunan yung P1 billion from a combination of private and public funds.”

The Department of Budget and Management has reportedly been tasked to look where it can source the money for the Phisgoc.

The organizing body recently unveiled its initial batch of sponsors from the private sector. Private companies, according to Cayetano, can come in as Platinum sponsors for $1 million to $3 million.

The country is hosting the SEAG from Nov. 30-Dec. 11, staging 523 events from 56 sports, leading to concern over the leg room for the preparations, including the construction of new complex in Clark.

“There are challenges, especially in the 33-percent budget cut, but preparations are on schedule,” said Cayetano. “Everyone’s committed to it – the President, DBM, DPWH, PSC, POC. With this commitment, I’m very confident we can find a solution to the problem.”

Phisgoc had planned to stage a SEA Games that would surpass all previous SEAGs. – With report from Olmin Leyba

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