Ramirez clarifies PSC role in SEA Games ‘cauldron’
November 20, 2019 - Wednesday 6:11 PM by Daniel JoaquinWHAT EXTRAVAGANCE? President Rodrigo Duterte says the amount used on the SEA Games cauldron was justified in a bid to meet the “product of the mind” of the creator. BCDA photo
DAVAO CITY -- Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chair William “Butch” Ramirez on Wednesday clarified that it is the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) and not the PSC that is responsible for the P50-million cauldron for the 30th edition of the Southeast Asian Games set to kick off on November 30 at the Philippine Arena.
Ramirez made the statement in Davao City a day after the Senate deliberation on the proposed budget of the PSC.
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chair William “Butch” Ramirez said the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC), which is headed by House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the SEA Games through a memorandum of agreement with the PSC and the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon had earlier questioned the spending of over P50 million for the design and construction of the stadium cauldron, which is located just outside the New Clark City Stadium.
The design of the cauldron, which is three meters in diameter, costs P4.48 million, while the 50-meter high foundation amounted to P13.4 million. The total cost of construction was pegged at P32 million.
“Whatever we say, the P55 million is too much,” Drilon had said on Monday during the budget hearing of the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA).
Drilon’s figure is P55 million because he included P6 million for wrist tags.
“We can even use it to build 55 school buildings for our youth. For me, P55 million is an extravagance, unnecessary and somebody has to answer for this,” he said.
Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, chair of the Senate Committee on Finance and sponsor of the BCDA budget, said the budget for the construction of the cauldron was lodged with the PSC.
But Ramirez said while the funds used for the cauldron came from the P6-billion budget allocated by the PSC for the SEA Games, it was the PHISGOC that took over all aspects of the cauldron’s construction.
He said PHISGOC, which is headed by House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the SEA Games through a memorandum of agreement with the PSC and the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).
“PHISGOC is accountable for hosting and organizing the games,” Ramirez said.
He said the budget for the games has to go through the PSC for approval before being handed over to the PHISGOC.
Ramirez said he was unsure of the bidding process but added PHISGOC will liquidate all expenses after the SEA Games.
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano appears at the Senate. At right is Senator Christopher Lawrence Go. PNA
Cayetano, for his part, on Tuesday defended the cauldron, saying it is a "symbol of the games" and a "work of art.”
Cayetano, who personally attended the Senate deliberation on the proposed budget of the PSC, said the SEA Games cauldron was designed by the late Francisco “Bobby” Mañosa, a National Artist for Architecture.
"The cauldron is not (just) one of the symbols — it's the symbol of the games, whether it's Olympic games or SEA Games. It's a work of art. While some people see it as a cauldron, we see a monument. We see the athletes, we see the burning flames that represent hope and the fighting spirit. We think it is just appropriate," he said.
He also argued that the cauldron is cheaper than what was built by Singapore four years ago, which cost around P64 million.
President Rodrigo Duterte himself said there was nothing extravagant about the cauldron.
“Walang extravagance diyan (There is no extravagance there),” the President told Palace reporters in a press conference at Palace’s Heroes Hall late Tuesday night.
Duterte said the amount was justified, in a bid to meet the “product of the mind” of the creator.
He also believed there was no irregularity in the purchase of the cauldron.
President Rodrigo Duterte says there was nothing extravagant about the cauldron as he speaks to reporters in Malacañang on November 19, 2019. TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO
“You know, there can never be corruption in that situation because you commissioned a national artist. Si Mañosa was commissioned by the government to create ‘yung nakita mo ‘yung kaldero ngayon (that cauldron). It is a product of the mind. You cannot estimate how much nalugi ka (your losses) because it is the rendition of the mind of the creator,” he said.
“Doon kontrata. Ito binili mo ang utak niya. Kung pumayag ka sa utak niya, wala kayong usapan na kobrahan ko kayo ng ganun (It’s a contract. You paid him for using his idea. When you agreed to use his creative mind, you don’t have an agreement to get a share from it),” Duterte added. WIth reports from PNA
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