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P50m-worth SEA Games’ “kaldero” questioned by Sen. Drilon

By: creepysiren

Category: Events, Government, Sports

Location: Clark Avenue, Angeles, Pampanga, Philippines

Date Published: November 19, 2019

The government spent P50 million for a giant cauldron (center) which will be used for the torch lighting ceremony at the 2019 SEA Games

Costing a whopping P50 million for its design and construction, the stadium cauldron to be used for the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games was scrutinized by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, who added that the budget could have been used to construct 50 classrooms.

“A P50-million kaldero. Do you realize that at P1 million per classroom this can construct 50 classrooms? In other words, we did away with 50 classrooms in exchange for one kaldero, is this a correct conclusion?,” Drilon pointed out during the deliberation of the proposed 2020 budget of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA)

“Is that reasonable? Is that a correct prioritization? Each classroom will cost P1 million and just for the kaldero, which should be used only once, we will spend P50 million,” he further said.

Drilon had earlier asked BCDA about the cost of the stadium cauldron that would be used during the 30th SEA Games hosted by the country from November 30 to December 11. Senator Sonny Angara, who was defending BCDA’s 2020 budget, said the design cost of the cauldron amounted to P4.4 million while its foundation was at P13.4 million.

The production of the cauldron was under the Philippine Sports Commission(PSC) and was designed by the late Filipino architect Bobby Mañosa, Angara noted. Drilon then asked if the total cost of the construction of the cauldron is P32 million, to which Angara replied in the affirmative.

“Construction of SEA Games stadium cauldron design and installation (is) P32 million,” Angara said.

Drilon then computed a round figure of P50 million for the stadium cauldron, which included the cost of the design and the foundation.

Angara tried to defend the cost of the cauldron.

“I think what the government is really envisioning was to do a really impressive hosting of the games and showcase the Philippine ingenuity by using Philippine creative designers and performers. I think this is what other Southeast Asian countries have also done when it was their turn to host,” he said.

But Drilon said: “I think in his hearts of hearts, the good sponsor, good intention as he is, finds difficulty justifying a P50-million kaldero.”

Drilon asked if a special audit of the SEA Games funds would be appropriate when it's concluded.

Angara said a special audit would only be necessary in case the normal audit is deemed insufficient.

This is the breakdown of costs, according to Drilon during a media interview:

  • 4 million for the design by late Filipino architect Bobby Mañosa
  • 4 million for the cost of cauldron's foundation
  • P32 million for the construction of the cauldron itself

The minority leader said he will file a resolution after the SEA Games to ask for a Senate probe into the "extravagant" expenses.

"Kailangang suportahan natin sila (We need to support our athletes) so they can compete and bring honor to our country. But it doesn’t mean that we will not question these expenses," Drilon said.

The SEA Games has a total budget of P6 billion, with P5 billion from the 2019 national budget and an additional P1 billion augmentation fund approved by the President.

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