President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday apologized publicly to foreign athletes for early foul ups in the Philippines’ hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, vowing to investigate and deliver results during the biennial meet.
Speaking to CNN Philippines, Duterte said a particular incident last week — the delayed hotel check-in of Cambodian delegates who had to sleep on the floor or lined-up chairs while waiting for their rooms — was unacceptable and could not be dismissed lightly.
“I’m really apologizing for the country,” he told CNN Philippines’ Ina Andolong.
“You cannot just cast away the discomfort, the suffering of the athletes. Sleeping on the floor, waiting for so many hours, getting hungry… this might really be a small matter, but you cannot just flick a finger na ‘A maliit `yan’ (That’s a small matter),” he added.
Duterte said a probe would be undertaken during the games for the athletes to know “there was a reaction from the government that we intend to find out what was wrong.”
The president extended his apologies amid calls to investigate the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) led by House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, a key ally, over inefficiency and alleged wasteful spending.
Phisgoc officials on Friday said the early mishaps had been “settled” and that everything was ready for the opening of the games on Saturday, Nov. 30, at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan. (PressONE.ph)