MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Local organizers of the Southeast Asian Games apologized to the foreign teams that arrived in Manila over the weekend following several logistical complaints.
The Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) issued an apology to Timor-Leste, Myanmar, and Cambodia on Sunday, November 24 “for the inconvenience caused to them by the confusion regarding their transportation and hotel arrangements.”
Several football teams had complained that they waited for hours at the airport, got shuttled to wrong hotels, or made to wait since their rooms weren’t ready. (READ: Football teams grumble: SEA Games hosting chaotic)
“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,” PHISGOC said in a statement.
Malacañang also issued a statement, noting that what’s “more important and more pressing is PHISGOC has committed to do better.”
“We can no longer undo what has been done. The Office of the President will not offer any excuses,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo. “As host country, we apologize for the unintentional inconvenience suffered by our athlete-guests.”
PHISGOC cited several reasons – including the change in arrival details that were relayed late to organizers – that led to early hitches in the Philippines’ hosting of the regional meet set from November 30 to December 11.
The organizers also noted that there had been 75 international arrivals in the last two days “consisting of various sports team delegations, technical officials, and representatives of the respective National Olympic Committees, that have gone off without a hitch.”
But following the reported incidents, PHISGOC said it would be a reminder for “organizers to be more diligent.”
“We owe it to our guests and our countrymen,” the organizers said.
"We are not promising that the Games will run 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," said Panelo. – Rappler.com