Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has urged the Congress anew to investigate the alleged irregularities and other problems that marred the country’s hosting of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) after learning that the event’s organizing committee still owes suppliers P387 million.
De Lima said it is high time for the Senate to deliberate on her proposed Senate Resolution (SR) No. 274, that was filed last year, which seeks to investigate the reported organizational and administrative problems, as well as possible corruption, which affected the biennial sports meet.
“Roughly one year after the country’s hosting of the SEA games, which was marred with problems and irregularities that remain undressed, we are presented with another issue – this time the P387-million debt to suppliers mobilized for the country’s hosting of the 30th SEA Games,” she said.
“The SEA Games organizing committee was able to allocate an exorbitant amount during the opening of the biennial sports meet, but apparently they don’t have budget to pay the suppliers? Bakit naman ganun? Hindi dapat pinapalampas ang ganitong pangyayari. Dapat imbestigahan ito para matukoy kung may naganap na hokus-pokus sa pondo ng bayan,” she added.
During a recent Senate hearing on the Philippine Sports Commission’s proposed P208-million budget for 2021, PSC Executive Director Guillermo Iroy Jr. said the Philippine SEA Games organizing committee (PHISGOC) chaired by House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has incurred P387-million debt to suppliers, including operators of passenger vans.
According to Iroy, PHISGOC had asked them to request the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to release additional funds to settle PHISGOC’s debts.
De Lima said a Senate inquiry on the concluded SEA Games is necessary not only to ensure that suppliers and small businesses would be paid, but also to prevent even greater problems in our sports programs in the future.
“We need to ensure that support and funding are given to the agencies that have proper mandate, and that accountability lies even with private organizations, especially those who have access to government resources. We cannot let this happen again,” said De Lima, a former justice secretary.
Filed on Dec. 16, 2019, SR. No. 274 remains pending in the Senate Committee of Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations, or the Blue Ribbon Committee. (30)