House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday slammed opposition leaders for their “hypocrisy” and “crab mentality” in criticizing the government’s expenditures to host the 30th Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines.
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Earlier, former president Benigno Aquino III and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the PHP 50-million cauldron that will be used for the opening of the SEA Games was an “unnecessary extravagance.”
In a press conference during the inspection of the SEA Games sports facilities at the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac, Cayetano pointed out that when he was Senate Majority Leader, the Aquino administration asked for a PHP10-billion budget to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Manila in 2015.
“Ang sinasabi ko lang yung hypocrisy na nung PHP10 billion ang hiningi nila sa Kongreso, para sa APEC, para sa bayan ito, representasyon ito, karangalan ito (What I am saying is the hypocrisy that when they asked Congress for PHP10 billion for the APEC, it was for the country, for representation, for honor). We have to spend on known artists and singers. We have to serve good food para maganda representasyon (for good representation),”Cayetano said.
“‘Yun nakita nila at justified nila pero yung PHP50-million na priceless work of art na forever pagmamay-ari ng gobyerno, sasabihin nila sana 50 classrooms na lang (They recognized and justified that, but for the PHP50-million priceless work of art that will be forever owned by the government, they are saying we should have 50 classrooms instead),” the Speaker and chair of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) said.
Instead of criticizing, Cayetano said it would have been better if Aquino was proud that his home province of Tarlac was the main venue of the international event.
“I was expecting na sasabihin niya na may issues, pag-usapan natin later, pero proud kaming mga Kapampangan na dito itinayo sa Tarlac (that he will say that there are issues, let’s talk about it later, but we Pampangueños are proud that the facilities were built in Tarlac),” Cayetano said.
“E hindi eh, ‘yung crab mentality pa rin. Akala nila SEA Games, seafood, kaya panay crab mentality, talangka ang inaabot natin (But no, it’s still the crab mentality. They thought the SEA games is seafood, that’s why it’s always crab mentality, we only get crabs),” he said.
The House leader also twitted Drilon for bringing up the classroom issue since it was during Aquino’s time that the shortage worsened.
“I think Sen. Drilon forgot na (that) it’s their administration na nagpilit ng K-12 kaya nagkulang na naman ng classroom (that insisted on implementing the K-12 program which again led to classroom shortages),” Cayetano said.
“I know because there are only two senators who objected, myself and Senator (Antonio) Trillanes. So don’t talk to me about classrooms because you created the classroom shortage. Dapat we’re on track na maging 45-40 per classroom kung hindi muna natin pinilit ‘yung (We would have been on track for 40-45 students per classroom if we had not insisted on the) K-12. We were asking for 5 years before implementing K-12,” he added.
The Speaker also blasted the Senate Minority Leader in his speech earlier in the day.
He said before bringing up the cauldron-classroom issue, Drilon was asking for PHP50 million for the Cultural Center of the Philippine (CCP), for the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra to conduct a world tour.
“We supported that because that’s about Filipino values and culture. Wala naman nagsabi ‘wag ilagay sa PhilHarmonic dahil 50 classrooms ang PHP50 million (Nobody said: ‘Don’t put it to PhilHarmonic because PHP 50 million is 50 classrooms’),” Cayetano said.
He also pointed out that it was Drilon himself who said the cauldron may not be overpriced.
“Walang nagsasabi na (Nobody is saying that) it’s excessive or overpriced. E ‘di anong issue (So, what is the issue)?,” Cayetano said.
The Speaker said they are asking for another gold medal that will be up for grabs.
“Gold medal for crab mentality. Alam ko na sino mananalo (I already know who will win),” Cayetano said. (PNA)