SENATE Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Wednesday questioned the staggering cost of the ceremonial cauldron that will be lighted during the country's hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
Speaking during Senate hearing on the proposed budget of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), Drilon hit out at the P50 million cost of the cauldron at the New Clark City Stadium that will be lighted during the Nov. 30 opening ceremony and burn bright for the duration of the biennial conclave.
Mocking the cauldron as an oversized caldero, the senator said the P50 million spent for the project is hard to justify.
"We do away with 50 classrooms to build a P50-million kaldero that we use only once? I am not even talking about overpricing. I'm talking about propriety," Drilon said.
Drilon later provided a breakdown of the expenses: P4.4 million for the design, P13.4 million for the construction of the cauldron's foundation, and P32 million for the construction of the cauldron.
Senator Sonny Angara, the sponsor of the BCDA budget, said the cauldron, designed by the late Filipino architect Bobby Manosa, was part of the country's bid to put together an impressive hosting of the Games.
"I think what the government was really envisioning was to do an impressive hosting of the games and showcase the Philippine ingenuity by using Philippine creative designers and performers. I think this is what other Southeast Asian countries have also done when it was their turn to host," Angara said.
Drilon, however, refused to budge, hinting that a special audit of the SEA Games funds may be necessary. The SEA Games has a total budget of P6 billion - P5B from the national budget and an additional P1B approved by President Duterte.
"Kailangang suportahan natin (ang mga athletes) so they can compete and bring honor to our country. But it doesn’t mean that we will not question these expenses," Drilon said.