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'WE WON AS ONE' | Duterte happy with SEA Games turnout

Over a half year after the SEA Games conclusion, President Rodrigo Duterte is still happy at how the Philippine team performed. Jade Moya (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Seven and a half months after the conclusion of the Southeast Asian Games, President Rodrigo Duterte is still all smiles at how the Filipinos excelled not just in the sporting part but also in other facets of the said event's Philippine hosting.

Duterte took to his State of the Nation Address on Monday at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City his appreciation to the Filipino athletes and to those who helped put the SEA Games hosting last year into fruition.

"Our athletes prevailed. More than that, we fostered pride, patriotism, genuine sportsmanship, and camaraderie in our Southeast Asian brothers and sisters. Indeed, we won as one," the president said.

"Bound with one vision" as told by Duterte, the Philippine government, the Philippine Sports Commission, the Philippine Olympic Committee, and the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee teamed up for the SEA Games hosting. However, the hosting was not without some controversies along the way.

Way before the start of the meet, there was already a backlash regarding the allegedly overpriced construction of the New Clark City Athletics Stadium's cauldron.

Then just as the SEA Games were about to start, the men's football teams of Timor Leste, Myanmar, and Cambodia experienced billeting problems, although these were quickly resolved.

Also, media covering the men's football event had to settle having the unfinished Rizal Memorial Sports Complex squash hall as their press room or sitting on the floor of the Binan Football Stadium in Day 1, but the media tribune matters were already fixed by Day 2.

The National Union of Journalists in the Philippines even called out PHISGOC chief operating officer Tats Suzara for trying to control what news should only be reported regarding the games.

Eventually, the hosting became smoother as the days went on.

In the end, the Philippines walked away with the overall championship, taking home 149 golds, 117 silvers, and 121 bronzes.

Aside from that, the legacy of surfer Roger Casogay was sealed after he saved his Indonesian opponent from possibly getting drowned as Typhoon "Tisoy" was still making things difficult in San Juan, La Union.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno_