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Editorial | Let the games begin

Despite the controversy hounding the hosting of the country of the Southeast Asian Games, the opening of the biennial meet is set to take place as scheduled.

The opening of the meet, scheduled today at the Philippine Sports Arena in Bulacan, is expected to draw Filipinos from nearby towns and other areas of the country as well as those from other participating countries who want to witness the spectacle.

Several days before the official opening of the meet, as other events have started days ago, the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee headed by Speaker Alan Cayetano, was at the receiving end of reports of inefficiency and even allegations of corruption that even President Rodrigo R. Duterte thought that it would be best to investigate the organizing committee after the event.

One story that came out of the Manila-based news outlets was the complaint of a coach of who claimed that they were fed with “kikiam” but eventually withdrew her claim as the food that was fed to the athletes – she failed to eat it as she was late – was chicken sausage.

The complaint was well-publicized, but the apology of the coach became a whimper. She was not even reprimanded.

This is not to say that people must close their eyes to the wrongdoings of those behind the holding of the event. What must be done is for the people to be careful in their comments so as not to provide distractions to the athletes who have been doing everything within their capabilities to bring honor to the country.

Others may criticize the government for accepting the offer to host the event – in 2012, Brunei was awarded the hosting of the event but decided to pull the plug in 2015 on “financial and logistical reasons – but the country is part of the community of nations, so its commitment must be respected.

Despite the distractions, it is, therefore, imperative for the public to join its government in ensuring that the event become successful. Criticizing and moves for investigation should be done after the games and that everyone should show the hospitality that the country is known for. Character may not glitter compared with the medals, but it leaves a lasting imprint in the minds of the people, especially the visitors.

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