MANILA, Philippines – Days before the much-awaited Philippine hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games, Senator Franklin Drilon sparked controversy into what he claims as ‘extravagant’ cauldron designed for the regional meet.
During the Senate’s deliberation of the budget of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) on Monday (November 18), the Senate Minority Leader hit the agency for spending too much for the metal structure.
“Masyadong extravagant ang mahiwaga, pinakamalaki at pinakamahal na kaldero sa buong mundo sa kasaysayan ng ating bansa – P55 million para sa kaldero (It’s too extravagant – the mysterious, largest and the costliest cauldron in the world and in the history of our country – P55 million for a cauldron),” Drilon said.
Overall, the government has P16.5 billion budget for the Philippines’ hosting of the 30th SEA Games.
But Senate Committee on Finance Chair Senator Sonny Angara defended why the cauldron costs that much.
“The kaldero (cauldron) is made of steel which accounts for its high cost,” Angara argued.
BCDA President and CEO Vince Dizon added that the use of the cauldron is not only for this year’s Asian Games but for other future purposes.
“I’m talking about world-class sports facilities not only to be used for games such as the Southeast Asian Games but also can be used to serve as the training hub of our athletes,” Dizon explained.
Drilon, however, was dissatisfied with Dizon’s argument.
He said he is determined to file a resolution to investigate the spending in relation to the SEA Games immediately after the regional event is over.
Drilon also called on the Commission on Audit (COA) to launch its own special audit on the expenditures of the SEA Games. – MNP (with details from Nel Maribojoc)