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    Chef de mission Cynthia Carrion defends move to call off PH performance in SEAG closing rites

    Aug 29, 2017
    PH Chef de Mission Cynthia Carrion (center) defended the move to call off the country's performance in the SEAG closing ceremonies. Jerome Ascano

    KUALA LUMPUR - The Philippines' chef de mission in the 29th Southeast Asian Games announced it will not be performing in the closing ceremonies of the 29th Southeast Asian Games due to the limited number of minutes the performers will have for the rites.

    In a four-page statement, chef de mission Cynthia Carrion said Malaysia organizers have limited the Philippines' performance in the closing ceremonies to only 10 minutes, which does not conform with their vision to mount a 'respectable cultural show that will make every Filipino proud of.'

    "As a former Undersecretary of DOT and a staunch sports tourism advocate with over 10 years of unstained government service, I believe that the SEA Games audience deserves a high impact, stunning, and magnificent Philippines cultural tourism performance," Carrion said.

    "I therefore beg the understanding of the Filipino nation and the DOT (that believed in the SEA Games event as a springboard to promoting the Philippines) for this terribly offensive incident of POC's putting off a wonderful PH performance compromising the country's tourism interest and promotions," said Carrion.

    Carrion also disclosed a total of P8.1 million was extended by the DOT for the Philippine performance in the closing ceremonies that covers food and accommodations, talent and professional fees, air fare, fashion collection, props, costumes, and rehearsals to the 83 performers and production crew, and the press conference originally slated on August 29.

    This early, Carrion said there are allegations as to the reason for the calling off of the closing performance, particularly from the Philippine Olympic Committee board, which the chef de mission answered.

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    One in particular is the P8.1 million, which the POC said was too big.

    The POC called off the Philippines' performance in the closing ceremonies of the SEA Games despite the DOT not imposing any objection to the shortened performance.

    Carrion also pointed out that the SEA Games organizers decision to change the time of performance by the Philippines was made on short notice.

    "This is absolutely an unreasonable and baseless accusation. We were originally expected to perform for no less than 20 minutes, and with the huge stadium to lay down a respectable show," she said.

    "We needed a minimum of 75 world-class performers, production crew, and eight staff to bring to Malaysia to mount a grand show and a press conference, making this budget simply judicious, reasonable, and proper," Carrion added.

    The POC, Carrion said, also alleged that the partnership between Carrion and the DOT was not officially approved by the POC board.

    "Reasonable minds suggested ratification considering the need for the country to present for PH tourism promotions, to conform to a SEA Games tradition, and with due respect to the Southeast Asian crowds that expect a PH show. This redounds to a matter of technicality, with possible corrections to avoid an incident that will detriment or damage a PH tourism promotions program," said Carrion.

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    PH Chef de Mission Cynthia Carrion (center) defended the move to call off the country's performance in the SEAG closing ceremonies. Jerome Ascano
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