By Macon Araneta

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Monday questioned the PHP50-million estimated cost for the design and construction of a stadium cauldron  that will bear the symbolic Southeast Asian (SEA) Games flame to be lit during the opening ceremonies.

Drilon said the budget could have been used to construct 50 classrooms.

“A PHP50-million kaldero!Do you realize that at PHP1 million per classroom this can construct 50 classrooms? In other words, we did away with 50 classrooms in exchange for one kaldero,is this a correct conclusion?” Drilon asked during the deliberation of the proposed 2020 budget of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).

“Is that reasonable? Is that a correct prioritization? Each classroom will cost PHP1 million and just for the kaldero, which would be used only once, we will spend PHP50 million,” he said.

He described the cauldron as an extravagance that is unnecessary and “somebody has to answer for this.”

Earlier, Drilon pressed  BCDA about the cost of the stadium cauldron that would be used during the 30th SEA Games hosted by the country on November 30 to December 11.

Sen. Sonny Angara, who was defending BCDA’s 2020 budget, said the design cost of the cauldron amounted to PHP4.4 million while its foundation was at PHP13.4 million.

He said the production of the cauldron was under the Philippine Sports Commission(PSC) and was designed by the late Filipino architect Bobby Mañosa, Angara noted.

“Construction of SEA Games stadium cauldron design and installation is PHP32 million,” Angara said.

Drilon rounded if off to  PHPP50 million for the stadium cauldron, which included the cost of the design and the foundation.

“A classroom costs PHP1 million, so we could have built 56 classrooms if the  money of the people was not abused,” he said. 

“I think what the government is really envisioning was to do a really impressive hosting of the games and showcase the Philippine ingenuity by using Philippine creative designers and performers. I think this is what other Southeast Asian countries have also done when it was their turn to host,” explained Angara. 

He said the facilities will be made available for rent for income following the games.