HOUSE Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday defended the P50-million price tag of the Southeast Asian Games cauldron built at New Clark City, saying it is a 'work of art' meant to lend prestige to the occasion.
Speaking during the Senate deliberations on the SEA Games budget, Cayetano took the opportunity to address concerns raised by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon over the staggering cost of the 50-meter cauldron which he mocked as a 'kaldero.'
The cauldron will hold the SEA Games flame during the Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 showpiece.
"It's a work of art. While some people see it as a cauldron, we see a monument. We see the athletes, we see the burning flames that represent hope and the fighting spirit," said Cayetano, who is the head of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee.
Cayetano added he thinks the price for the construction of the cauldron - broken down to ?4.4 million for its design, ?13.4 million for the foundation, and ?32 million for its construction - is "just appropriate."
Cayetano also claimed that the cauldron built infront of the New Clark City Athletics Stadium is cheaper than the one built to the tune of P63 million by Singapore for the 2015 SEA Games.
He added that the cauldron designed by the late national artist Francisco “Bobby” Mañosa, is priceless.
"The cauldron is not one of the symbols — it's the symbol of the games, whether it's Olympic games or SEA Games," Cayetano said.
Meanwhile, the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) denied that it funded the project, saying the budget for the cauldron came from the Philippine Sports Commission.
"Monuments like the SEA Games cauldron speak volumes of how the government values its athletes, and this will be a monument that will last for many generations and inspire athletes present and future to bring glory to the country," the BCDA said in a statement.