The cascade of logistical flubs at the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games has yet to come to halt, so if you’re playing catch-up on the whole mini-scandal, here’s a quick roundup to get you up to speed.
Footballer hospitalized for peanut allergy as head chef apologizes, explains kikiam confusion
A footballer sought treatment at a hospital last weekend after having an allergic reaction to peanuts that were in a dish he was served.
Faiq Hefri Bolkiah, who is also the nephew of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei, was rushed to the Manila Doctor’s hospital when his lips swelled after eating a curry, GMA News reported.
SEA Games Executive Head Chef Bruce Lim, who oversaw the preparation of Bolkiah’s meal, apologized in a press conference yesterday but said that they were not informed by the Brunei delegates that the athlete had a peanut allergy.
“We tried to work hand in hand with their nutritionists and their coaches. So I’m not sure if they notified us that they have a peanut allergy,” Lim said. “If you notify us and you tell us immediately when you guys arrive about any type of dietary restriction or allergy, we will address it, no issue.”
However, a member of Bolkiah’s medical team told ABS-CBN News that they had indeed informed the organizers about the athlete’s peanut allergy.
In a separate interview with news show “TV Patrol” yesterday, Lim also clarified the confusion about the purported pork kikiam (a type of sausage) that was allegedly served to the athletes at a Tagaytay hotel for breakfast amid outrage over shortages of halal food for Muslim athletes.
Whitewoods Convention and Leisure Hotel, which served the dish, yesterday released a statement denying it had served muslim athletes pork kikiam, saying it was in fact, chicken sausage, and the football team’s coach has apologized to the hotel for mistaking the dish for pork.
Head chef Lim defended the hotel saying what was served was “basically a chicken hotdog, but what the hotel wanted to do is they wanted to liven it up a bit, so they sautéed it in a bit of soy sauce and spices, so it looked like kikiam.”
Double toilets now with dividers
Meanwhile, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) yesterday, took to a Facebook post to insist to netizens that the divider-less double toilets making the viral were fake news. Or, at least they are now, now that they’ve gotten around to installing a divider.
An “actual photo” of the toilets that was taken just yesterday at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium shows a wall has now been erected between the two toilets.
The PSC is saying that the photo posted on Nov. 25 on Twitter by ABS-CBN journalist Angel Movido was taken a while back, while the facility was still under renovation. But netizens commenting on PSC’s Facebook page were skeptical they were the same toilets, and why the new photo of the renovations was taken just yesterday, as opposed to when the story first broke.
Movido, meanwhile, issued an erratum on Twitter yesterday saying the cubicle where the two toilets were found is located not at the Rizal Stadium, but the Ninoy Aquino Stadium, one of the facilities found in the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex. She added that the toilets were larger and originally intended for the use of persons with disabilities.
Press bites back over government’s criticisms of media coverage
A journalist group has called out government officials for criticizing the media for their reporting on the SEA Games’ hosting snags. Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) COO Ramon Suzara had earlier slammed media for its purported negative coverage of the games, and asked journalists to publish more positive stories.
Um, they did. Outlets focused on athletes’ chances of winning the gold, a tour of the spiffed up Rizal Memorial Coliseum, and even SEA Games delegates saying how impressed they were at facilities at New Clark City, one of the venues for the games.
However, they also pointed out the numerous embarrassing mishaps that have plagued the lead-up to the event.
In its statement, the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP) said yesterday that the press’ duty “has always been to report things as they are, based on verifiable facts, and not to pander to anyone’s perception of what is, or should be.”
“It becomes ridiculously unacceptable when the officials responsible for the disaster resort to bashing media as well as if the reports on their shortcomings were to blame for the disaster,” NUJP said. “Attempting to dictate how the media should report the news has no place in a democracy.”
And it’s not like covering news is a walk in the park. GMA News reporter Bernadette Reyes had received hateful comments for covering an unfinished SEA Games venue earlier this week, filming a construction-materials-flanked venue in World Trade Center where the Wushu, Karate, and Fencing competitions are supposed to be held.
Sports chair Cayetano said he’s ready to face the music
House Speaker and PHISGOC Chairman Alan Peter Cayetano said that he’s ready to take responsibility for the SEA Games debacle and face any investigations once the regional sports competition concludes on Dec. 11.
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go had earlier this week warned organizers of the Games that they will have to face the consequences for embarrassing the country with their incompetence, and vowed that he would initiate a Senate probe to delve into why the event became such a mess.
In a speech delivered today at the 44th National Prayer Breakfast in San Juan City, where Cayetano was guest of honor, the sports chair said, “[On] Dec. 12, hold me accountable, hold the SEA Games Organizing Committee accountable.”
Cayetano added in a mix of English and Filipino, “I won’t hide. I myself will face the Senate, the Ombudsman.”
The congressman went as far as to say that he was willing to do a lie detector test to prove that he wasn’t involved in any acts of corruption, and he claimed (without proof) that he and his team put up their own money to fund the games.
In an interview on news show “ANC Headstart” this morning, Duterte spokesman Salvador Panelo promised that an investigation will be conducted after the games. He insisted that Cayetano, despite being the president’s ally and former running mate, will be held accountable if he were proven to have been negligent.
“Given the character of this president, that won’t be a problem,” Panelo said, adding in a mix of English and Filipino,
“The president does stand by the wrongdoings of friends or relatives; you see how he fires people who are close to him. If there are irregularities, graft, corruption, they will be accountable,” he said.