(Updated on Dec.6, 10:28 a.m.) An award-giving body allegedly gave the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) as the Best Southeast Asian Games Organizer.
Thing is, no other host country was nominated.
The Sports Industry Awards (SPIA) Asia, introduced as an award platform for sports business, handed the award to PHISGOC Chairperson Alan Peter Cayetano and COO Ramon Suzara at the Grand Hyatt Hotel last December 3, according to the Facebook post of Cayetano, who is also speaker of the House of Representatives.
The sports event is still far from over. It runs until December 11.
Thank you Sports Industry Awards (SPIA) Asia for awarding the 30th South East Asian Games as the best SEAG organizer….
PHISGOC is the only committee or team mandated to lead the hosting of the SEA Games, the country’s fourth time this year.
There had been similar committees or teams during the SEA Games in 1981, 1991 and then in 2005.
The SEA Games organizing structure under the Duterte administration, however, is different.
Rather than being led by a member of sports agencies Philippine Sports Commission or the Philippine Olympic Committee, Cayetano was appointed to helm a new committee, PHISGOC.
The group was later incorporated and formed into a private foundation in compliance with the rules of the International Olympic Committee.
This was stated in Memorandum Circular 56 which was enacted this January,
“The Philippine SEA Games Organizational Committee Foundation (PHISGOC) Inc., a non-stock, non-profit organization, was created to oversee the preparations and execution of the Philippines’ hosting of the 30th SEA Games in 2019.”
Athletic delegates and media practitioners faced inconveniences a week before the official start of the SEA Games, including accommodation issues and delays in rehabilitation or construction of some venues.
While there were improvements in the following days, the earlier blunders and complaints posted on social media have already been reported by international news organizations.
How credible was the award?
According to its website, the SPIA Asia is a body that “recognizes and celebrates Asia’s Top 10 in 25 distinct awards categories.”
“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,” part of its About Us page read.
Interaksyon browsed through the website and found 24 items listed on its award categories. These were divided into Asian Awards, Local (Philippines) Awards and Public Voting Awards.
None of the categories included the recognition given to PHIGSOC.
It also states that the SPIA conference is often endorsed and supported by government agencies in the country.
This year’s ceremony was particularly supported by PHIGSOC, the award recipient, itself.
It was also endorsed and sponsored by the Tourism Promotions Board, a government body attached to the Department of Tourism.
Some Filipinos observed that the recognition could be a public relations stunt.
“This award is a decent PR effort by the Philippine Government, but that’s all it is. Any number of awards cannot erase the fact that the preparation and lead up to the SEA Games has been poor at best and catastrophic at worst,” one Facebook user said.
Sharing because this is a hilariously ham-fisted attempt by the government to make themselves look good and silence the…
Others denounced what was perceived as a deception to make it look like PHISGOC was praised overseas.
“Congratulations, PHISGOC, for being the ‘Best SEA Games Organizer’ out of the one main organization behind the only SEA Games happening right now,” one Twitter user said.
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