Duterte defends P50m SEA Games cauldron
President Rodrigo Duterte has defended the controversial P50-million cauldron to be lit during the 30th Southeast Asian Games, which the country would be hosting starting next week.
In a press conference in Malacanang late Tuesday night, Duterte said there was nothing extravagant about the cauldron built at New Clark City where most of the SEA Games events would be held contrary to the claim of Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon.
"You know, there can never be corruption in that situation because you commissioned a national artist. What's his name? Oh it's...Mañosa was commissioned by the government to create what you're now seeing, the cauldron. It is a product of the mind. You cannot estimate how much you'd lose because it is the rendition of the mind of the creator," he said.
"(Y)ou create a symbolism of the athletic activity...there's no extravagance there," Duterte added.
The late National Artist for architecture Francisco Mañosa designed the cauldron to be lit by torch during the opening ceremony of the SEA Games on November 30.
Duterte hit Drilon for his view over the supposedly extravagant cauldron by questioning also the large coliseum built in Iloilo, the senator's hometown.
"How many kilometers (of roads) could be built based on the price of Drilon's coliseum? Is it used everyday? Well, if it is used and making money, fine," he said.
Duterte also questioned the construction of EDSA Shrine, which was built after the bloodless People Power Revolution in 1986 that catapulted late President Corazon Aquino to power.
He said he was not sure if EDSA Shrine was a donation.
"But if it's government, I really would say that it is a violation of (the separation of) our church and state principle," he said.
Aquino was the mother of former President Benigno Aquino III, Drilon's political ally.
Drilon has said the fund used for the construction of cauldron could have been spent instead for the building of classrooms. Celerina Monte/DMS