Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Gordon chides Philsoc execs

SENATOR Richard Gordon yesterday took to task officials of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Committee for their supposed "failure" to drum up interest for the games the country will host on Nov. 27 to Dec. 5.

Speaking during a Senate inquiry on the country's capabilities and plans in hosting the 23rd edition of the games, Gordon told Philsoc officials led by chairman Roberto "Obet" Pagdanganan and vice-chairman Jose "Peping" Cojuangco Jr. that he has not "heard any noise" yet about the SEA Games.

"I don't feel the ugong. I don't feel the participation of the schools. We're hosting the Southeast Asian Games (but) I don't feel the ugong, I don't feel the vibration," Gordon said, adding: "Mas mabuti pa nga 'yung Manny Pacquiao, may ugong, may expectations ang bansa na may laban tayo."

In response, Cojuangco, also the president of the Philippine Olympic Committee, challenged the senators to contribute to the SEA Games war chest so the Philsoc can get "the drum beating."

"Gusto ninyong umugong ito nang husto, mag-anunsyo kayo kung ano'ng ibibigay ninyong tulong," said Cojuangco, adding he expects the senators to contribute at last P200 million coming from their pork barrel to the hosting chores.

Apparently flabbergasted by Cojuangco's reply, Gordon said: "It's a pilosopo answer. We're only here to find out what you need and how can we be of assistance."

After that exchange, Cojuangco cited what the Philsoc has been doing, saying: "The preparations are there. The machinery is there. Maybe it needs a little bit more fuel."

Philsoc officials have initially said at least P800 million will be needed for the hosting chores but have raised the amount to P1.5 billion, which they are hard-pressed to raise with just eight months left before the games.

Pagdanganan, addressing the committee chaired by Sen. Lito Lapid, said: "Kailangan namin ang suporta ninyo sa pangangailangan ng atleta, venues, security. Kung maari lang suportahan ninyo kami."

Lapid, who had already pledged P50 million of his pork barrel for the country's athletes, said he would help convince President Arroyo to re-align a portion of the P30-billion savings from the legislators' pork barrel cut to the hosting chores.

"Asahan ninyo ang suporta namin," he said. "Susubukan namin kung mari-raise sa pork barrel. Baka pwedeng makiusap kay Presidente."


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