Cabaero: Inclusive games

Nini Cabaero

IT WAS a last-minute idea, but they were able to pull it off, to make the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games accessible to all.

For the first time, the public can watch the SEA Games live and for free after the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) decided to open the gates for sports events, except basketball, volleyball and football, for the duration of the biennial meet.

The Games has 56 events, and the free tickets would begin with the opening ceremony held Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019, at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan. The closing will be on Dec. 11, and organizers said they would offer 10,000 free tickets to the closing ceremonies at the New Clark City Athletics Stadium in Capas, Tarlac.

One can imagine the scramble for those free seats to watch an event that does not happen often. The last time the Philippines played Games host was in 2005. It was also in that year when the Philippines became overall champion.

Some say the decision to open the Games to the public was a face-saving move by Phisgoc chairman Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano after the pre-games logistical snafu that he had to answer for as head of the organizers. No matter how one sees it, however, the decision to make the games inclusive is laudable. How organizers can recover costs is another matter.

They may not be banking on ticket sales to recover the costs, but revenue from there is still one of the sources. The Phisgoc would later have to account for expenses and revenue.

As to a congressional investigation into how the SEA Games fund was used, this should push through in order to address concerns of overspending, mismanagement or corruption. President Rodrigo Duterte has said no one would be spared from the investigation and the penalty, should corruption be found. “There is no sacred cow in this government” was how his spokesman Salvador S. Panelo stressed the point.

The investigation should proceed to clarify concerns aired not only by critics but by citizens also who posed their questions online. Let the issues be explained in the proper venue.

The probe should push through because there is no excuse for corruption, not even our playing host to an international event.

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Praying for fair weather during SEA Games. Typhoon Kammuri (which will be called Typhoon Tisoy when it reaches the Philippines) is expected to be another dampener for the games.

After logistical problems in the pre-games activities, now we have Kammuri to douse hopes for a trouble-free 11 days.

The forecast is that Kammuri may bring moderate to heavy rains and thunderstorms starting Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, over Bicol Region and Samar provinces. Central Luzon, the Bicol Region, Southern Luzon and Metro Manila will experience strong winds and heavy to intense rains on Tuesday, Dec. 3, and Wednesday, Dec. 4.

The Games opened Saturday, Nov. 30, and will run until Dec. 11.