Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has called for an inquiry into the country’s preparations for its hosting of the Southeast Asian Games, due to start officially tomorrow, following logistical and construction problems.
Complaints over transport, accommodation and food have accumulated as thousands of athletes have gathered for the biggest ever edition of the Games, which are also threatened by an approaching typhoon forecast to hit the northern Philippines early next week.
Organisers apologised earlier this week, while criticism has grown under a mocking hashtag, #SEAGamesfail.
“I said let us investigate,” Duterte said, according to Channel News Asia.
“Do not create a firestorm now because we are in the thick of preparations.
“To me personally there was a lot of money poured into this activity.
“Now I suppose that with that kind of money you can run things smoothly.
“Apparently, maybe something went wrong.”
Earlier, however, the organising committee chairman Alan Peter Cayetano said: “First and foremost, this is going to be a great hosting.
“You will be very, very proud of your country, of your athletes once the SEA Games are over.”
He had earlier apologised for “inefficiencies or miscoordination” after athletes were forced to sleep on floors and flight delays and a lack of adequate food had also been reported.
Philippine Olympic Committee President Abraham Tolentino, elected in July, had earlier claimed these type of “glitches” were “normal” in the days before the start of a major event.
Typhoon Kammuri – which is packing gusts of 170km per hour and maximum sustained winds of 225km/h – is presently heading for Games venues in the north of the country and is expected to make landfall on Tuesday (December 3).
The 30th edition of the SEA Games are marked by the first major decentralisation in its history, with competition venues spread in 23 cities across the country.
The hosting rights were originally awarded to Brunei in 2012 but the country pulled out days before the 2015 SEA Games due to “financial and logistical” reasons.