DECEMBER 12, 2019 — House Speaker and Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) chairman Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday night called on government leaders to make sports a national priority after the country successfully hosted the region’s biennial multi-sports competition for the fourth time in four decades.
The host country emerged as the overall champion at the end of almost two weeks of intense battles for gold medals at the 30th edition of the southeast Asuan Games.
It won a total of 386 medals, including 149 gold
In a stellar and imoressive performance.
“We have been praying that sports once again become a national priority,” said Cayetano.
Cayetano asked Filipinos among the Southeast Asian crowd at the closing rites whether they wanted to prioritize and receive more funding for sports, saying the President and the Congress were listening.
“We celebrate the vision of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to give all Filipinos a safe and comfortable life. Mr. President, through sports, mailalayo natin lahat ng kabataan sa droga,” Cayetano added.
Cayetano also vowed in front of a local and international crowd that the Philippine government would build a national high school for sports in New Clark City that provides athletes with full scholarships.
The House Speaker also said government will fund upgrades to grassroots programs as well as support the Department of Education and the Philippine Sports Commission.
Before concluding his message, the House speaker also addressed those who criticized and doubted the organization of the 30th SEA Games.
“For those of you who said this stadium will not be built on time; for those of you who said ‘sayang ang pera, dapat hindi tayo ang nag-host’; sa lahat ng nagkalat ng fake news… Peace be with you,” said Cayetano.
Vietnam, which will host the 2021 Games, finished second overall and powerhouse Thailand was third.
Swimmers from Singapore and Vietnam were declared the best athletes for men’s and women’s events, each winning six gold medals .
Filipino surfer Roger Casugay was also honored for sportsmanship for unselfishly assisting an Indonesian competitor who fell off his surfing board.
EVEN BEFORE THE END
The Office of the Ombudsman last week announced that it has begun looking into PHISGOC over allegations of corruption.
A seven-member panel was formed to investigate officials of PHISGOC and government as well as other agencies involved in the organizing of the 30th SEA Games.
Duterte earlier said he wanted an investigation into the lapses that occurred before the beginning of the biennial multi-sports event but asked to hold off until the end.
Duterte also said Cayetano must be held liable for the snafus but does not believe the PHISGOC head is involved in corruption. (Nicole Dacanay/MM)