by Kristel Satumbaga
The Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) will continue to oversee the country’s preparations for the biennial meet, Philippine Sports Commission Chairman Butch Ramirez said Friday.
In a statement, Ramirez said he had a meeting with Senator Bong Go, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and PHISGOC Chairman Alan Peter Cayetano and discussed the alleged corruption issue that had prompted President Duterte to hand the hosting duties to government agencies.
And they all agreed that there was no truth to the insinuation by the other camp.
“There is no truth to the allegation on corruption,” Ramirez said, adding that the PSC, POC and PHISGOC are “united in one leadership” to host the 30th edition of the Games scheduled late November.
“We assure the athletes and the general public that all decisions and transactions will be done with utmost transparency,” Ramirez added, noting that they are working through the guidance of the Department of Budget Management and assistance of the Procurement Service to ensure that public funds are protected and all disbursements follow existing government rules and laws.
PHISGOC earlier released a statement clarifying that it has complied with all the directives issues by President Duterte for hosting duties, and that “all government funds are duly accounted for, and are being disbursed in accordance with government procurement procedures performed either by the PSC or the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget Management.
“This is to ensure that every peso allotted for the SEA Games are wisely and properly spent,” said PHISGOC Chief Executive Officer Ramon ‘Tats’ Suzara.
Suzara also clarified that the R5 billion budget approved by the Congress, as well as the R1 billion augmentation fund approved by the President are all lodged with the PSC and that “not a single centavo of government funds is handled by the PHISGOC.”
Ramirez, meanwhile, has called on all the heads and athletes of all accredited national sports associations to personally update them on developments on their own preparations.
With four months left before the SEA Games, constructions and renovations of various venues have been fast-tracked including the 20,000-seater Athletics Stadium and the Olympic-standard Aquatics Center in New Clark City, to name a few.