The initial challenges in the SEA Games 2019

By: Atty. Ruphil F. Bañoc - CDN Digital | November 29,2019 - 06:35 AM

Do Filipino athletes feel the so called “home court” advantage now that the South East Asian (SEA) Games is held in the country this year? Will they not be affected by the noise on social media as regards the mess committed by the organizing committee? 

Marathon Queen Mary Joy Tabal and other Cebuano athletes who would compete for the SEA Games expressed their positive feelings when for the first time the Cebu City government organized a send off gathering that started with a thanksgiving Mass. They said that such activity has a positive impact, knowing that the Cebuanos are backing them up in the competition. 

The so called “home court” advantage will not only comprise of the familiarity of the place, the climate, etcetera but also the feelings that they are being supported to by the Filipino people who compose the majority of the audience. 

However, the athletes might be affected by the noise or uproar in the social media that is triggered by the failure of the organizing committee. Hence, Tabal is calling the Filipino people, particularly the Cebuanos, to also post on social media the positive side or affirmative comments that can boost their morale. 

As of now, the negative comments have dominated because of the lousy handling of the organizing committee of the SEA Games. It started from the “Imeldific” P50 million cost of the cauldron for the opening of the SEA Games. 

This was followed by the experiences of the foreign delegations that arrived over the weekend, which brings cracks to the well-known hospitality reputation of the Filipinos. How? One was failure of coordination with respect to transportation. This made the foreign athletes wait up to 8 hours to be picked up at the airport before they finally reached to their hotels. 

Some were brought to a wrong hotel. Others experienced sleeping on the floor because there were no rooms available yet when they arrived ahead of their schedule. The organizers failed to find ways to accommodate them and to solve such a simple problem. Yes, you read it right: it’s a simple problem that could have been foreseen even by an average man!

It was also reported that some athletes coming from Muslim countries accidentally ate food mixed with pork, which is against their faith. Even Filipino athletes complained as reported because they were served foods which are not nutritious such as Kikiam. 

What happened to the in-charge of the SEA games, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano? Why didn’t he hire experienced people, after all, this is the 4th time that our country hosts this event? Where did the P7.5 Billion budget go?

I understand the appeal of Tabal to the Filipino people to also post positive things on social media to keep the morale of our athletes high. But no one can dictate to the netizens in posting about what they observe. 

With this, first, we call on the responsible people in the organizing committee to work double time, shape up and recover in the following days before the opening of the 30th SEA Games and during the whole duration of the event. They still have time to correct their mistakes. 

On the other hand, it is worth conveying, especially to our athletes, that the Filipino “bayanihan” spirit is still working despite the problems faced by the organizing committee. There are private companies that have stepped in to help the organizing committee.  

To mention a few, a private transportation company offered their Ceres buses to help in transporting the foreign delegates. Also, Filipino-Muslim organizations offered to help in preparing the foods for Muslim delegates.  These are positive values that at least our delegates can be proud of. 

For now, let us unite and support our Filipino athletes. Let us posts things that can inspire them. But after this big event, heads must roll. Those responsible for the mess must not go scot-free.  

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