By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
The Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing (PHISGOC) has issued an apology for the series of shabby accommodations rendered to different groups of foreign athletes competing in 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEAG).
In a statement released by the Office of the House Speaker, PHISGOC chaired by Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said they “sincerely apologize” to all the athlete delegations from Timor-Leste, Myanmar and Cambodia for the inconvenience caused to them by the confusion regarding their transportation and hotel arrangements.
“We sincerely apologize to our athlete guests,” the statement read.
Cayetano and other members of the SEAG organizing committee drew flak from netizens after the football teams after the poor receptions given to football teams of Timor-Leste, Myanmar, and Cambodia upon their arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) early morning of November 23.
The Yangon-based Duwun Sports shared Saturday photos of the Mynamar under-23 football team waiting inside what looked like a cramped vehicle.
In Burmese dialect, Duwun Sports said the team had to wait for a car for a long time upon their arrival at the airport. The situation, it said, was “very uncomfortable.”
Meanwhile, in series of photos posted by Facebook page ASEAN Football News, members of Cambodia’s under-23 football team were seen sleeping on the carpet of a hotel in Manila.
The Timor-Leste’s football team meanwhile waited for five-hours at NAIA before they were fetched by a bus that brought them in their hotel. Their hotel accommodation also suffered inconvenience since they were initially brought to a wrong hotel.
“We acknowledge our shortcomings in this particular incident and vow to do better,” the statement read.
According to PHISGOC, the confusion with the Timor-Leste football team happened when some of their members were initially brought to the Century Hotel along with the rest of the team.
However, the Timor-Leste coordinator pointed out that some were actually billeted at the nearby Hotel Jen. PHISGOC was able to arrange the delegates’ shuttle to the other hotel.
As to the Cambodian football team, their change in arrival details was relayed late to the PHISGOC’s Games Services Department.
Instead of the arrival time initially relayed to PHISGOC, the Cambodian team arrived in NAIA at 4 a.m. Transportation was immediately provided, but since their hotel rooms were not yet available because the standard check-in time is 2 p.m.
PHISGOC said the incident with the two teams “remain a constant reminder for us as organizers to be more diligent.”
“We owe it to our guests and our countrymen.”