• Duterte is not from the Babuyan Islands

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    ROMY P. MARIÑAS

    ROMY P. MARIÑAS

    If President Rodrigo Duterte were from the Babuyan Islands, would those sycophants recommending that the next Southeast Asian (SEA) Games be held in his supposed hometown of Davao City turn around and root for the archipelago that is separated from the island province of Batanes by the Balintang Channel?

    No, they would not because for them to do so would be the height of making sucking up to the President a genuinely crass act.

    Besides, the Dutertes are from Maasin, Southern Leyte, making Rodrigo only an adopted son of Davao and making those hangers-on in high places a bunch of geographically clueless morons than they were originally thought of.

    Since these flatterers cannot be cajoled into not campaigning for Davao City to be the only venue for the regional biennial games among 10 Southeast Asian countries, we suggest that the various sports that make up the event be hosted by different cities.

    The idea is to save money because Davao (reputedly the largest city in the world by land area), if the SEA Games were held there in its entirety, would have to build from scratch.

    To begin with, it has no existing “world-class” venues that would pass international, even regional, standards.

    Starting from zero is not worth it for an international competition that is, forgive this corner, third-rate, mediocre, no matter that it is sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and no matter that the Philippines once won the “overall” title.

    Again, these bootlickers have to be told that the IOC does not recognize “overall” championship winners because to do so would run against Olympic ideals.

    Other than conserving precious resources, organizers of the next SEA Games that the country is hosting should see to it the disciplines being contested will be actually watched by Filipinos who will troop to stadiums or cheer for our athletes in the comfort of their homes.

    It should break the heart of the Philippine Olympic Committee to see empty seats during the regional sports showcase, that is if they truly care about the sacrifices of all athletes taking part in the SEA Games in 2019.

    To make Filipinos packed sites of the events, basketball matches, for example, can be held in Manila, where the sport is hugely popular.

    Or, for another, football games can be staged in the Visayas, particularly Bacolod City in Negros Occidental and Barotac Nuevo in Iloilo, where basketball plays second fiddle to the beautiful game.

    Softball matches, still for another, can be held in Central Luzon, Nueva Ecija, in particular, where the game has a big following.

    The concept can be repeated in other provinces, cities and towns where a specific sport is evidently the most popular among local folk.

    With some SEA Games sports not exactly needing grand venues for them to be watched by fans, the government would be able to save money that would have otherwise been spent for future white elephants after the euphoria subsides over the Philippines having hosted the 2019 SEA Games.

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