November 24, 2019
Malacanang on Sunday apologized to the athletes of Timor-Leste, Myanmar and Cambodia for the inconvenience they experienced when they arrived in the country for the upcoming Southeast Asian Games.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo issued the statement after the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) made also an apology for what happened.
“We can no longer undo what has been done. The Office of the President will not offer any excuses. As host country, we apologize for the unintentional inconvenience suffered by our athlete-guests,” Panelo said.
He said incidents of delays in transport and checking-in at hotels happen in international sports and games by reason of the number of countries and athletes involved.
However, he added that PHISGOC has committed to do better in ensuring proper coordination from the arrival of the athletes to their transportation and hotel accommodations to avoid similar incident from happening.
Panelo noted that there was no report of any incident jeopardizing the SEA Games participants' safety and their health.
He said the government is not promising that the games would continue without a hitch.
“Given the countless athletes who will participate and represent their respective countries, but we will exercise due diligence in making sure everyone will have a pleasant, productive and memorable stay in the Philippines,” he said.
“We wish all the participating athletes good luck and look forward to their excellent and hopefully world record breaking performances!” he added.
In a separate statement, PHISGOC, which apologized over the incident, vowed to do better.
“We sincerely apologize to our athlete guests from Timor-Leste, Myanmar and Cambodia for the inconvenience caused to them by the confusion regarding their transportation and hotel arrangements,” it said.
“While PHISGOC strives to ensure proper coordination of the arrival details, airport welcome and transportation provisions of all international teams to their respective assigned hotels, we acknowledge our shortcomings in this particular incident and vow to do better,” it added.
Explaining the incident, PHISGOC said some members from the Timor-Leste football team was billeted to a different hotel which was not assigned to them but they were able to arrange the delegates’ shuttle back to their original hotel.
As to the Cambodian football team, PHISGOC said their change in arrival details was relayed late to them.
“Instead of the arrival time initially relayed to PHISGOC, the Cambodian team arrived in NAIA at 4AM. Transportation was immediately provided, but since their hotel rooms were not yet available because the standard check-in time is 2PM, PHISGOC requested that the team be allowed to wait at an air-conditioned private hotel conference room with tables and chairs where the members could rest and feel comfortable while waiting for their rooms,” the organizing committee said.
According to the PHISGOC, 75 international arrivals went smoothly. However, the incident with the two teams remains a constant reminder for them to be more diligent.
“We owe it to our guests and our countrymen,” the organizing committee said. Ella Dionisio/DMS
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