The Philippines, it seems, has already lost in the Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) even before Filipino athletes could compete.
With politics again rearing its ugly head just days before the opening ceremonies on November 30, the Philippines already earned a “zero” scorecard as far as the 2019 SEAG theme is concerned—We Win As One!
Clearly, even an important event that we are hosting couldn’t zip the mouths of our politicians. Every “wise” word they say only further divides the nation, which should not be the case now.
Can there be a political ceasefire for at least a few weeks?
In support of the Filipino athletes and in the spirit of the Game’s theme, local politicians should have opted to keep their mouths shut first and refrain from grandstanding until after the conclusion of the 30th edition of the biennial meet. That is only until December 11. But no, they just can’t.
Just because of a cauldron—be it overpriced, extravagant or a worthy work or art—focus was shifted to political bickering instead of boosting the morale of the athletes.
We commend Senator Sonny Angara for urging politicians to suspend the debates over the SEAG-related expenses, especially the P50-million cauldron. We also agree with House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano that this matter should be better looked into right after the SEAG.
However, the damage has been done, obviously. The time spent debating over a cauldron should have been devoted by the opposition and administration in working together to address the needs of Filipino athletes. The issue obviously just distracted the athletes and the Filipino people. It was just another issue that divided the nation ahead of the SEA Games.
Seeing the political leaders working as one would have also united Filipinos so we could cheer as one for our athletes. It would have also united Filipinos in ensuring quality hosting by the Philippines.
With just a few days before the opening of the games, we hope our politicians will listen to sound advice. Instead of debating, let’s us rally Filipinos to supporting our athletes in each game they will be competing in. Let us urge Filipinos to be good hosts to our neighbors, and let them experience the kind of hospitality that we are known for all over the world.
Putting politics aside, let’s cheer as one, and hopefully, we will also win one as one, at least in the 30th SEA Games.