The Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) was setting itself up for trouble when it rejected the offer of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) to help in the preparation of halal food for Muslim delegates.
NCMF external affairs director Dimapuno Alonto Datu Ramos Jr. said Tuesday (November 26) that he had warned Phisgoc of potential problems on serving halal food but his warning and offer for help fell on deaf ears.
“We were ignored,” he said.
Singapore’s chef de mission or head of national team Juliana Seow wrote Phisgoc this week asking that it resolve the problems Singaporean delegates are facing.
Seow said the delegates resorted to buying their own food, hinting that what organizers prepared were inappropriate.
“We had tried our best to be patient and understanding. As much as we had tried to resolve the situations ourselves as well as with our sports and you, these situations cannot continue any further as our athletes are badly affected and are not able to prepare for the games effectively,” she wrote.
There were also reports that foreign delegates were served kikiam, which was a food Muslims stay away from.
Ramos said NCMF also tried to help Phisgoc address possible concerns of Muslim delegates, such as the availability of prayer rooms, but they were ignored.
“It was always the same answer from them: We will contact you,” he said.