Congratulations are definitely in order for the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) after news broke yesterday that the beleaguered committee had won the totally real “Best SEA Games Organizer” award — which, it should be noted, they were the only ones in the running for (and whose conferring body they sponsor).
The not-dubious-at-all distinction was announced yesterday by the state-run Philippine News Agency, and was conferred by the Sports Industry Awards Conference (SPIA) at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Manila on Tuesday. PHISGOC chair and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano accepted the award, and thanked the SPIA in a Facebook post yesterday.
“Thank you Sports Industry Awards (SPIA) Asia for awarding the 30th South East Asian Games as the best SEAG organizer,” he said.
Then, as if to dispel what he could already sense was a brewing storm of skepticism, he added, “The SPIA Asia Awards have become the most credible awards platform in Asia, focused on recognizing and celebrating the achievements of the Asian Sports Industry. We are humbled by this recognition and we will strive to keep the momentum going for the country.”
Indeed, Cayetano’s humility and grace were all the more laudatory given that, according to the website of the unimpeachably credible awards body, SPIA is endorsed and supported by none other than the Philippine government’s Tourism Promotions Board and — why, wouldn’tcha know it! — PHISGOC itself. (Oof! Our sarcastic italicizing hand is getting sore!)
Oddly, SPIA Asia’s 2019 Awards list — which shows winners in over 20 categories, including Best Asian Sportsman of the Year (Manny Pacquiao) and Best Asian Sports Team of the Year (China’s women’s volleyball team) — does not list a “Best SEA Games Organizer” Award. Indeed, given that the SEA Games are only held every two years in a single country at a time, that host country’s organizing body (in this case, PHISGOC) would, by default, be the only entity eligible.
SPIA does, however, list a “Special Recognitions” category, which makes mention of a “SPIA Asia Excellence Award” conferred upon PHISGOC.
Over on Twitter, however, Filipinos weren’t exactly swooning for PHISGOC, which has been the target of intense and sustained criticism for what many have called its botched handling of the games.
As user @momblogger flatly tweeted today, “There is No Best SEA Games Organizer Award,” adding that the award was merely a citation conferred upon Cayetano himself.
SPIA’s CEO Eric Gottschalk, before bestowing the special recognition on Cayetano, praised the 30th SEA Games as having a staggering 50 sports, 20 more than its previous editions, and lauded the Philippines for bagging so many medals. “These are by far one of the best SEA Games so far ever, and that has been awarded by SPIA to PHISGOC, so congratulations,” he concluded.
Twitter user @theklmanuel was among the many who mockingly congratulated the committee on winning its own award, crowing “PHISGOC is rank[ed] 1 out of 1!” — before adding the disclaimer, “This award is sponsored by PHISGOC.”
Congratulations, PHISGOC, for being the “Best SEA Games Organizer” out of the one main organization behind the only SEA Games happening right now. PHISGOC is rank 1 out of 1! [This award is sponsored by PHISGOC.] 🤡 https://t.co/AfxP0sgUOE
— K Manuel (@theklmanuel) December 4, 2019
Twitter user @jlg0013 meanwhile, summed up the situation more visually, with this gem of a tweet.
hala amazing. giawardan ang PHISGOC as Best SEA Games Organizer..
by PHISGOC hahahahahaha
photo credits: Jeriel Edwards pic.twitter.com/0UIaqAaXNo
— 🥤 (@jlg0013) December 5, 2019
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