Upon Duterte’s orders, SEA Games tickets now free to the public

Mara Cepeda
But tickets for the opening ceremony, the basketball and volleyball tournaments as well as football games of the Philippine team are already sold out. Ticket buyers will not be reimbursed.

'WE WIN AS ONE.' The public may now watch the closing ceremonies of the 30th SEA Games for free. File photo by Josh Albelda/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Tickets for majority of the 56 sports events and the closing ceremony of the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games will now be free for the public. 

On Friday, November 29, Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) chairperson and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said this was the order of President Rodrigo Duterte. (READ: LOOK: 2019 SEA Games schedule, venues) 

“As of today, upon instructions of the President, we will release 10,000 tickets to the public [for the closing ceremony],” Cayetano told reporters on the sidelines of the bicameral conference committee meeting on the proposed national budget in 2020. 

“‘Yong games [free na rin], except basketball, volleyball, and football where Philippine team is playing kasi sold out na rin (The games will have free tickets too except for basketball, volleyball, and football where the Philippine team is playing because they’re sold out already),” added the Phisgoc chair. 

(Click here for stories about the 30th SEA Games) 

Another 15,000 tickets for the closing ceremony to be held at the Athletics Stadium in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac on Wednesday, December 11, will be given out to volunteers.  

“There are 25,000 seats sa closing [ceremony]. So chine-check ko pa ilan sa volunteers kasi traditionally ang volunteers nando’n. ‘Yon din ang parang pinaka-thank you sa kanila,” said Cayetano. 

(There are 25,000 seats for the closing ceremony. So we’re checking how many volunteers will be going because traditionally they attend that. It also our gesture of gratitude to them.)

Cayetano said Phisgoc plans to distribute the free tickets for the games and the closing ceremony to local government units, state universities and colleges, and ticketing booths in provinces hosting venues for the SEA Games. These include Tarlac, Pampanga, Bulacan, and some areas in Metro Manila.

The organizing body is expected to list down the specific places where to get the free tickets by Friday.

However, there are no more free tickets for the opening ceremony on Saturday, November 30, as the show is already sold out. (READ: What to expect from the SEA Games 2019 opening ceremonies) 

What about those who already paid for their tickets? Phisgoc will not be reimbursing them. 

“Well, contribution na nila ‘yon sa atin (that’s just going to be their contribution to us),” said Cayetano.

The Philippines’ hosting of the biennial regional sporting meet has been marred with logistical mishaps and alleged budget anomalies days before the SEA Games officially opens. 

Cayetano, however, maintains Phisgoc didn’t earn any kickbacks and vows to subject the government funds used in the SEA Games to a special audit after December 11. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.