Three months into 2019, the Philippines is still operating on a reinacted budget since the senate refused to sign the bi-cameral conference committee ratified 2019 Annual budget after finding it fraudulent because of alleged insertions and realignments made by the Lower House. Senator Panfilo Lacson earlier alleged that there are at least P50 billions of insertions and realignment made by congress to the P3.757 Trillion Annual Budget. Not unless the Senate will be satisfied or unless the “insertions and realignment” has its blessings, the Philippines will be operating on a reinacted budget from last year’s approved allocation.
Talking politics, not sports! Easy! That’s only a prelude to establish my facts! Remember Philippines is hosting the South East Asian Games in December! Well then, as a host the Philippines needed at least P7.5 Billion to host the biennial multi-sporting competition, which will feature athletes from our Southeast Asian neighbours. And that funding will come from the government coffers. However, the Senate slashed 33 % from the budget proposal and allocated only P5B for the hosting, which now means POC has to source out from the private sponsors for the remainder. But, POC might need to look for more as the P5B is still at the drawing board, since the national budget is yet to be submitted and approved by Pres. Duterte. Even if we operate on last year’s budget, the allocation for the SEA Games hosting was not in it.
But granting the budget will be signed in June as what Senate President Tito Sotto had predicted, procurements of equipment, logistics, payment for contractors, hotel and meals for foreign delegations for SEA Games Federation and Philippines Organizing Committee meetings and other expenses leading to that events has to be paid. And who will foot the expenses? The PSC? Unlikely! The POC? Maybe! Private individuals, entities? Most likely. However, reimbursement is guaranteed. How long? A month maybe years. Depending on the submission of documents. (Government workers knew how this works.) But heck, we don’t want to dwell on that. It’s their money anyway.
And the budget cut is probably is just right, since there are items that are questionable. that includes the logo design which is said to cost P30M. Wow! If you’re a social media butterfly, you must have seen that Logo (that looks like scattered rubber bands we kids on the 70s and 80s used to play) posted on Facebook and Twitter. (Do you smell doing of the past POC leadership? I do too!) At least one issue is resolved. The disbursing agency now is PSC and not the Department of Foreign Affairs as what former DFA secretary and PhilSGOC chairman Allan Peter Cayetano had wanted. Since Sec. Teddy Boy Locsin doesn’t want a part of it (he was even surprised when he was told that there is a P7.5B sports budget request from his office.
He and Allan Peter was reportedly don’t see eye-to-eye), he did not even bat and eye when the disbursement issue was tackled. It is just right though because this is PSC’s bailiwick. And in terms of guarding the people’s money I bet you, Chairman Butch Ramirez and his board followed the rules to a tee. But are we really prepared to host SEA Games 2019? Some people are really doubtful! Aside from the budget, Task Force SEA Games is yet to be formed. Hala! This Task Force is critical since they link PhilSGOC with the NSAs to know the needs of every sporting events. Remember we are dealing with thousands of athletes, coaches and officials with different cultures, beliefs, traditions and preference.
Even on our own level, managing a national multi-sports events such as Palarong Pambansa, Batang Pinoy or Philippine National Games is always a mess! I won’t elaborate but any sportswriter, athlete, coach and delegation head can attest to that. That is because of our diverse culture. How much more hosting 10 countries that has different cultures, religions and beliefs. Tsk tsk tsk. And managing 56 sports with 523 events is also dizzying! That Task Force needs to work triple time once it is formed. There are also other things to address to.
Vietnam had criticized PhilSGOc for excluding track events women’s long jump, high jump, heptathlon, the marathon, the men’s and women’s 10,000m race. However, negotiations are on going as the world athletics governing body insisted on holding the scrapped events, which are mandatory, or else suffer the consequences. Hahays! May the force with us na lang!