POC president Tolentino on SEA Games 2019 mishaps: ‘It’s normal’

Leigh Nald Cabildo
Despite receiving tons of complaints, the POC president Bambol Tolentino insists that these problems are 'normal'

MOVING FORWARD. POC president Bambol Tolentino asks the public to move on from the first few 2019 SEA Games mishaps. Photo by Beatrice Go/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines –  Despite the pile of mishaps in the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said Tuesday, November 26, that these problems are “normal.”

Tolentino also insisted that the organizing committee already fixed the “minor glitches” and asked the netizens to move on already from the disturbing issues the organizers faced this week.

Tolentino is also the president of Philcycling and an administration congressmen representing the 8th District of Cavite. His older brother is Duterte administration Senator Francis Tolentino. 

It’s normal, ganyan talaga kaya nga sabi ko let’s move on,” Tolentino said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum.

Magsama-sama tayo dito, para sa bansa natin to, huwag muna tayo maghilahan, after this na. Para sa bayan muna, sayang.”

(It’s normal, it’s really like that. That’s why I just said ‘let’s move on.’ We should unite for our country. Let’s not pull one another down for now. Let’s focus on the country first.) 

Tolentino also asked for understanding as the organizers only had a year to prepare for the biennial sports event.

I hope maintindihan ng iba, lalong lalo na kulang na kulang yung year ng preparation natin. Remember, dapat sa Brunei ito, [we only have] one year of preparation.”

(I hope others will understand that one year of preparation is not enough. Remember, Brunei was supposed to host the 2019 SEA Games. We only have one year of preparation)

Instead of throwing criticisms, the POC president called for unity and support for the Filipino athletes as they try to capture the overall championship this year.

“My statement will be, not only we win as one, but we [also] stand as one in hosting the 30th SEA Games,” Tolentino said.

This year’s SEA Games is organized by Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC), headed by House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.

The country’s hosting of the regional biennial meet was likened to the infamous Fyre Festival that failed to deliver its promises of a luxurious, Coachella-like concert in The Bahamas Islands. 

Among the mishaps that arose a week before 2019 SEA Games opening were the logistical nightmare of the international football teams, the lack of accommodations of the Philippine women’s football team and the shabby treatment on the Cambodia football team

Media covering the games weren’t spared from venue woes as the unfinished SEA Games squash venue in the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex was converted into a makeshift media center– Rappler.com