"A major foul-up, indeed."
These are more than “glitches” in the 30th Southeast Asian Games being hosted by the Philippines. The coaches of several football teams including the Philippines have complained about poor accommodations, bad food and lack of transportation. Indeed it is a major foul-up by the organizers.
The Philippine Sports Commission and organizing chairman, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, pleaded with the public not to blame them now and that they should air their grievances after the Games.
Cayetano said all Filipinos are hosts of the SEA Games. Thus, we must be one in spirit and as a country.
But what can you do when coaches of foreign delegations themselves hold a press conference to publicly denounce the shabby treatment they receive? Buses supposed to pick them up at the airport were late and then brought them to the wrong hotel. When they arrived at the hotel, the rooms were not ready and they were made to stay in a large function room where they had to sleep on the floor. The organizing committee apparently did not block off the rooms for the foreign athletes.
The worst part is the bad food. Athletes claim it lacks nutrition, necessary for endurance and strong performance.
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano is the head of the organizing committee. But it seems was more focused on his P50-million cauldron to be lit throughout the Games, so he overlooked other important details in food, accommodation, and transportation.
This is the fourth time for the Philippines to host the Southeast Asian Games. To think that we may have more experience in hosting and organizing this major regional event is too much to expect.
The poor preparations for the Games were just too much that even the Palace came out with stinging rebukes of the organizers. This is bad for Cayetano who fancies himself as Duterte's candidate for the 2022 presidential elections.
On another front, Vice President Leni Robredo was removed by President Rodrigo Duterte as co-chairperson of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-illegal Drugs. This he did after flying off to an international conference.
Robredo lashed back at the President's action, warning she would come out with a bombshell on Duterte's bloody war on drugs. I will not preempt the Vice President by speculating on what she will say. But I supposed it has something to do with the list of high-value targets of drug lords.
As I have written in an earlier column, the President may have unwittingly opened a Pandora'd box by appointing Robredo as anti-drug drug czar. I don't want to say I told you so but this is the way things are turning out to be. Even when she was eventually fired, Robredo had been given a platform to project herself as Liberal Party opposition candidate in 2022. From fading star to a reignited one—as destiny would have it.
The question is whether LP figures like Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon or Kiko Pangilinan will step aside for Robredo. These two are also nurturing presidential ambitions.
Retired Senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Antonio Carpio, Senator Cynthia Villar and boxing icon Manny Pacquiao are three other strong contenders in the 2022 presidential race.
The people have a choice—a legal luminary, a rich senator, or a popular boxer. Who shall it be? Whoever it might be, we hope he or she delivers the country from the morass we are in.
Going back to the abysmal preparations for the 30th Southeast Asian Games, I think this reflects the same sad state of affairs in the way the country is being run by government. It's time for the people to make the right choice so we can see meaningful change.