A labor group on Thursday has urged President Rodrigo Duterte to let Filipinos enjoy free entrance at events of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, which officially runs from November 30 to December 11.
The biennial multi-sport event will hold its opening ceremony at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan on Saturday, where Duterte is expected to attend.
Ticket prices range from P1,000 to P12,000 for the opening rites, and P50 to P900 for each sporting event.
Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said that the sport events should be free for all Filipino workers and their families because ordinary workers cannot afford the entire cost of watching the games.
“Mr. President, maraming mga manggagawa at kanilang mga pamilya ang gustong makapanood ng mga laro at magpahayag ng kanilang home grown support to Filipino athletes and help build that home grown advantage they needed but they cannot afford the entire cost of watching the games,” he said.
“Baka ho pwedeng ilibre na lang ninyo ang entrance fee,” he added.
According to Tanjusay, the cost of tickets, expenses for food, water and roundtrip transportation will cost ordinary workers a lot.
“The rank-and-file workers cannot afford this luxury,” Tanjusay said. “But as soon as the President declares free tickets, marami pong manonood,” he added.
For Tanjusay, the sports event is an opportunity for Filipinos to “re-unite” amid the controversies and misunderstandings surrounding the country’s hosting of the 30th SEA Games.
“The SEA Games is a rare opportunity to national healing, foster renewed patriotism and re-ignite unity among Filipinos behind all Filipino athletes,” he said.
“We cannot win as one nation if tickets and cost of watching games are affordable only to the privileged. The best way to make this happen is through a free and accessible venues,” he added.
Samahang Weighlifting ng Pilipinas President and former Philippine Olympic Committee President Monico Puentevella has also urged Duterte to declare free entrance to the SEA Games events. — Joviland Rita/MDM, GMA News