Solon: ₱50-M SEA Games cauldron only ‘excessive’ if used ‘one-time, big-time’

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FILE PHOTO. The 3-meter wide cauldron, designed by National Artist for Architecture Francisco “Bobby” Manosa, will hold the SEA games flame for the duration of the sports event.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 20) — A party-list lawmaker on Wednesday defended the controversial P50-million Southeast Asian Games cauldron, saying it is “excessive” if only used for the upcoming regional meet.

“When you look at the cauldron, one thing to understand is that the cauldron will not be a one-time, big-time thing. [Otherwise,] that would be absolutely excessive,” PBA Party-list Representative Jericho Nograles told CNN Philippines’ The Source.

While Nograles was "surprised" with the fund spent for the cauldron, he defended it, saying it is "necessary."

“With the works, with the design work, with the cost to actually operate it, that was really staggering amount. However it is necessary. Every single event has a cauldron like that,” the lawmaker said.

“We want as a nation to compete with the world when it comes to sports venues,” he also said.

The 3-meter wide cauldron, designed by National Artist for Architecture Francisco “Bobby” Manosa, will hold the SEA games flame for the duration of the sports event. The country spent ₱4.4 million for its design, ₱13.4 million for the foundation, and ₱32 million for its construction.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon had called out the construction of the 50-meter cauldron right beside the newly-built New Clark City Athletics Stadium, questioning if the expense was "appropriate." House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, who chairs the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee, defended the price tag and said the cauldron is a "work of art.”

READ: Cayetano defends ₱50-M SEA Games cauldron: 'It's a work of art'

Nograles also defended the government against critics saying the budget for the cauldron should have been given to Filipino athletes struggling to request funds.

“We support our athletes in billions of pesos on a yearly basis and it is not just for one event, but for multiple events, for multiple people,” he said.

CNN Philippines' Multi-Platform Writer Melissa Lopez contributed to this report.