I HAVE attended conferences before at the local, national and international level. Here in Bacolod, I had been part of the host organization of the Swiss-sponsored International Conference of HEKS Partners and Friends, bringing in delegates from Southeast and South Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
As in any international event, despite the pre-conference planning, it remained a nerve-wracking, last minute crisis management, from photocopying discussion papers, printing posters and name tags, room assignments, fetching delegates to the airport, instructing the chefs of the participants’ dietary restrictions, even hiring Spanish and French interpreters from UP Diliman for those challenged with their English proficiency, preparing engraved plaques of appreciation and token gifts to resource persons, and so on.
Then I got invited as a resource person or as a participant in international conferences in France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Canada, USA, Peru, Nepal Tajikistan, and Indonesia.
I had a chance to interact with the organizers. They all had a harried look, of always in a rush. Yet, in an explosive situation where the adrenaline rush going on overdrive, everyone learned to be cool and patient.
After all, almost everyone understand that the organizers have to handle cross cultural issues, even such mundane issues such as exotic food, different personalities and languages, transportation to bring delegates from their rooms to different conference venues.
The organizers got everything (almost) down to pat. National and local governments and their civil society counterparts interacted and cooperated with one another. Talk about synergy!
That is why for the life of me could not understand why the country committed one snafu after another. You would have thought, as House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano assured the world this week, that “everything is all set” for the Southeast Asian Games.
Well, it wasn’t, as social media pointed out. Thailand Men’s football team head coach, Akira Nishino, has joined with the rest to criticize the organizers for lack of proper infrastructure.
Then super-efficient Singapore raised issues on the games, like transportation woes and insufficient halal food.
Even the Philippine women’s football team aired complaints. Their coach said their breakfast of kikiam and eggs was insufficient and not nutritious. Organizers have apologized for the logistical mess.
Presidential Spox Salvador Panelo emphasized this week, Speaker Alan is accountable to all that relates to the SEA Games. Kung anong bulilyaso doon, syempre dahil ang nagpapatakbo accountable siya.”
Yet Cayetano tries to wiggle out of his accountability. says preparations for the country’s hosting of the Southeast Asian Games could have gone much smoother if the Senate passed the budget for it earlier.
The 2019 General Appropriations Act's passage was delayed by four months over disagreements between the Senate and the House of Representatives over the alleged illegal insertions by congressmen.
Instead of competitive sports, we get a blame game where the country, not just the athletes, are assured of losing.