Keep an eye on ₱7.5-B SEA Games budget now with PH Sports Commission – Locsin

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 16) — Foreign Affairs Secretary Tedoro "Teddy Boy" Locsin, Jr. is urging the government to keep an eye on the ₱7.5-billion budget for hosting the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in November.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Locsin said the fund, which was earlier included in the budget of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), is now with the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC). Locsin had it turned over through the Budget Department after senators in December 2018 questioned the DFA's handling of funds for sports development, which is beyond its mandate.

"That's a heck of a lot of money. So please keep your eyes on PSC. Remember, BCDA (Bases Conversion and Development Authority) already built everything for the sports event so that's a lot for snacks," Locsin said.

The SEA games budget was crafted during the term of Alan Peter Cayetano, who headed the SEA Games Organizing Committee. In an earlier tweet on April 9, Locsin said he feared the budget would later land with the PSC, "which I don't trust."

The 2019 SEA Games, which will feature a record 56 sports, will take place on November 30 through December 10. The country wrapped up the 2017 edition of the contest at sixth place with 24 golds, 33 silvers, and 64 bronzes.

Locsin's latest statement was in reaction to an article whereby Senator Grace Poe stressed the need to guard the newly signed 2019 budget against abuse and make sure that it is spent "where it was allocated and is felt by the people."

Duterte on Monday finally signed the ₱3.757-trillion national budget for 2019, but vetoed ₱95.3 billion worth of items. It ended months-long delay which forced the government to operate based on the 2018 budget resulting in delayed projects that impacted growth targets.