Home Headlines Patriotism lit up by SEA Games opening But pretaped cauldron lighting seethes...

Patriotism lit up by SEA Games opening
But pretaped cauldron lighting seethes more anger

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CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga – Patriotism over support for Filipino athletes at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games was sweeping.

But patriotism for true journalists include carrying on with their watchdog roles against cracks in the mirror of democracy, rain or shine.

Thus, despite being impressed with the grand and spectacular opening of the Games at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan, journalists, including local ones, have raised a red flag over being barred from witnessing the lighting of the 40-meter symbolic cauldron at the New Clark City (NCC) in Capas, Tarlac, supposedly simultaneous with what was happening in the arena last Nov. 30.

“The highlight of the lighting of the cauldron will be live. We will have spectators, public viewing at the New Clark City with the LGUs there. It will be a memorable opening ceremony,” said Tats Suzara, chief operating officer of the Philippines Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) just a few days into the Nov. 30 opening.

Thus, media folk went to NCC to cover the lighting of the already controversial P50-million cauldron, but only to be barred and told that only staff and volunteers were allowed to cover the event.

The mystery over this evolved into pettiness when Suzara himself, after the failed coverage, was quoted to have dismissed the issue by saying “It doesn’t matter. It’s a television show.”

On Twitter, the issue has torched a fiery flame of comments, many from journalists, especially after it turned out that the cauldron lighting footage which was pretaped and merely inserted into the live coverage at Philippine Arena.

Senate president Tito Sotto had tried to cool off the heat and justified this by citing said pretaped segments of Queen Elizabeth and James Bond during the London Olympics.

To this, an angry veteran journalist Inday Espina Varona had this to ask on Twitter: “What was the cauldron for? Why P50-M for a TV show prop? The Queen’s camera trick must have been cheaper. Why were people not warned against going to New Clark City? Why keep media away?”

“Sinidihan ka ngunit kulang,” lamented netizen Gang Capati on Twitter, her account followed by thousands.

Even former Comelec chair Gregorio Larrazabal could not help but express disappointment, saying that the lighting of the cauldron was an “important sporting event.”

“The lighting of the cauldron and keeping the flame on during the whole duration of the games is very important. Every sportsman knows that,” he said in his Twitter account.

Commenting on Suzara’s “it’s just a television show” remark, Elizabeth Angsioco remarked: “Spent 50M on something that doesn’t matter? Clueless about the importance of the ritual of lighting the cauldron? Is this the reason why they wanted to ban photographers?”

One JoeAm appeared incredulous on Twitter” Is this true? They used computer generated fireworks? Why didn’t they just draw the cauldron using 3d animation?”

JC {Punongbayan reminded Suzara: “Sir, opening ng international sports event yun, hindi lang ASAP o Sunday Pinasaya.”

But the controversy surrounding the cauldron could yet end and be overwhelmed by a proposal from no less than Foreign Affairs Sec. Teddy Locsin Jr. who posted on Twitter: “What about dropping media into it (cauldron) from a chopper and then media lights it with a match. Then (sic) can tell from the screams if it works. No loss.”

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