Duterte urged to make SEA Games entrance-free

A labor group on Thursday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to waive entrance fees for events of the 30th Southeast Asian Games in several venues in Luzon including Metro Manila, particularly for ordinary workers and their families who cannot afford the entire cost of watching the games.

Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) spokesperson Allan Tanjusay said allowing Filipinos to watch the games would also boost the Filipino athletes’ confidence to perform well because of the support from their countrymen.

“Mr. President, maraming mga manggagawa at kanilang mga pamilya ang gustong makapanood ng mga laro at magpahayag ng kanilang (there are many workers and their families who want to watch the games and show their) homegrown support to Filipino athletes and help build that homegrown advantage they needed but they cannot afford the entire cost of watching the games. Baka ho pwedeng ilibre na lang ninyo ang (You might want to waive the) entrance fee,” Tanjusay said in a statement.

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Aside from the venues in the National Capital Region, other games will also be held in Subic, Clark and in other locations in the region.

Initial news reports said tickets to the games are pegged at PHP300, PHP200 and PHP100. Prices of tickets to the opening ceremonies on Saturday range from PHP1,000 to PHP12,000 per person.

“Aside from the cost of tickets, expenses for food, water and round-trip 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 (there will be more viewers),” he added.

The ALU-TUCP said the SEA Games is also an opportunity as a rallying point for all Filipinos to re-unite amid the controversies and misunderstandings in preparations for the games to be participated in by 10 other nations from Southeast Asia.

“The SEA Games is a rare opportunity to national healing, foster renewed patriotism and re-ignite unity among Filipinos behind all Filipino athletes. The essence of the games is to unite all citizens in Asean and all Filipinos together,” 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 free and accessible venues,” Tanjusay added.

Samahang Weighlifting ng Pilipinas president and former Philippine Olympic Committee head Monico Puentevella also called on Duterte to declare free entrance to the games.

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