Driven with much controversy from the unliquidated financial reports for the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games), deficiency to meet agreement flare up the transparency on the billion pesos budget allocated to the 30th SEA Games

/ 21 October 2020

The multi-sports happen biennially, and it has been an honor for the country to host such a prestigious event in the world of sports. Following the years—1981, 1991, 2005, and 2019—where the Philippines have hosted the sports meet.

The sports fest concluded on the last 11th of December 2019, and that has been over ten months ever since. Still, the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) falls short in providing financial reports.

According to the Commission on Audit (COA) rules and provisions, any Non-governmental organization (NGOs) or People Organization who was the recipient of government financial support has to submit liquidated financial statements in 60 days.

And supposedly, these reports must be completed and submitted this year on February 9, two months after the wrap-up of the SEA Games. Yet, no compliance with any documents was submitted.

Not to mention that these sports officials have agreed to report all the requirements—rights sponsorship, transactions—and periodical program reports before, during, and after games. This agreement was signed by POC President Rep. Abraham Tolentino, PHISGOC CEO Ramon Suzara, and PSC Chairman William Ramirez before the release of the six billion pesos budget funds for the SEA Games. All of the requirements and periodical reports have not been under any condition that happened and submitted. 

With this, a number of the executive board members of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) scrutinize PHISGOC closely due to the unpunctual submission of an audited summary of expenses. 

Some of the people who told the media and threatened to press legal action against POC were POC board member Jesus Clint Aranas and athletics chief Dr. Philip Ella Juico questioned PHISGOC the reasons for the long-overdue financial reports.

According to them, there should be no reasons for the delay, for they have given ample time to complete their reports. It should have done and completed on February 9, a month before the pandemic takes off that all financial reports must be submitted.

The controversy continued to rise when a news break containing the SEA Games organizing committee still owed an estimate of Php 387 million to supplier and service providers during the 2019 sports meet. With all of the pile of issued happening, Sen. Nancy Binay, probes why should the money of the people be used to shoulder its debts when in fact PHISGOC was the one who entered the contract.

It further revealed that only Php 1.481 billion out of the Php 6 billion approved budget was remitted while the rest of the balance was given to the Department of Budget and Management Procurement services, POC, and others were remitted to other services and equipment used in the sports meet.

The urgency of the submission of liquidated financial reports led to a proposition to submit and comply until October 10. And by this, the further delay can only cause more speculation that the money was supposedly for the SEA games ends up in another man’s pocket.

Skeptic as it is, all reports must be thoroughly screened to give transparency in all the funds to avoid another corruption scandal. The government cannot spare another inopportune scandal mainly now that the higher up seems to be confused about how to strategically give solutions to the current issues the country is facing.

Recently, Tolentino sought additional funds in preparation for the next Olympic Games that will be happening in Tokyo next year.

According to him, the additional Php 510 Million proposal will boost the qualifiers in training results as he has no doubt that our athletes will bag a multitude of medals.

With his good intentions for the receiving end, it is still early to request such an estimate now that the unliquidated financial reports issue is still fresh from the eyes of the authority and the public.

Truthfully, we never know all the loopholes in the government system, particularly in budgeting this kind of elite sport. People do not see all the transactions made to make sure every penny is properly allocated. Perhaps, all we can do is wait and see if everything is successfully done and everything was already concluded.

It has been obvious that not only are there faults in the government system, but there are also several elected officials who are deceitful in manipulating and misusing their benefits as well.

This is why proper liquidation of financials and constant updates as to where funds go is equally as necessary as getting the result of the SEA Games. Unlike what happened in the 30th SEA Games, where even there are agreements made, the parties still are not accountable enough to fulfill their end part of the obligation.

It is important to closely study the relevance of the budget fund and rigorously follow all agreements made. After all, it is all subject to citizen’s money and helping Philippine Sports in grabbing medallions in the next multi-sports event.