President Rodrigo Duterte reacted on Senate Minority Floor Leader Franklin Drilon’s criticisms against the decision of the government to spend P50-M on the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games cauldron.
In an interview at the Heroes Hall in Malacañan Palace on Tuesday, Duterte brought up the topic about Drilon’s statement, saying that journalist Anthony Taberna is right for asking the Senator about the significant amount spent on Iloilo Convention Center.
“Tama si Taberna, Ilang kilometro ng (kalsada) ang magagawa sa presyo ng coliseum ni Drilon? Ginagamit ba ang coliseum araw araw?” Duterte said referring to Iloilo Convention Center which reportedly cost 700-M.
“How many kilometers of those public structures there in Iloilo kung ginamit yun to cement all the highways there,” he added.
He also denied that there’s no extravagance on the cauldron they built.
“Bakit yung coliseum niya doon ganoon kalaki? bakit hindi liitan? Bakit ganoon kalaki? Yun ang plano eh,” he said.
Duterte explained that it’s impossible to have corruption on that project because the government contracted Francisco “Bobby” Manosa, a national artist for architecture.
According to him, no one could decide the price of the construction except the artist they commissioned.
“It is a product of the mind, you cannot estimate how much, because it’s a rendition of a mind of the creator, kung yan ang singil, edi sabihin niya, ‘edi wag mong bilhin kung ayaw mo, yan ang presyo ko,'” Duterte said.
He said that no one could “debate” or negotiate a price to an artist they commissioned.
Duterte also compared the difference between the Iloilo Convention Center and SEA Games cauldron.
“Yung iyo (Iloilo Convention Center) kontrata, eto binili mo yung utak niya (Manosa), pumayag ka sa utak niya, wala tayong usapan na kubrahan ko kayo ng ganon,” he said.
“We build schools, yes, we build infrastructures for an Olympic event, yes, you impose your whatever thing there as big or small, you begin to criticize the efforts of the people there, paano kung ang sabi niya ‘ganito kalaki ang gawin ninyo’ we are just following the wishes of the person who made it,” he added.
“Pag nag sabi ka na ilang eskwelahan na ang magawa niyan, eh yung coliseum mo ilang kilometro (ng kalsada) ang magagawa niyan,” he also said.
A few days ago, Senator Drilon questioned the government for spending P50-M for a single-use cauldron, saying that it’s extravagant.
He also said that the budget for building the cauldron could build 50 classrooms already.
“A P50-million kaldero. Do you realize that at P1 million per classroom this can construct 50 classrooms? In other words, we did away with 50 classrooms in exchange for one kaldero, is this a correct conclusion?” Drilon said.