Solon wants probe on ‘fake news’ about SEA Games hosting

By Vince Ferreras, CNN Philippines

A lawmaker on Wednesday expressed support to the proposed investigation on supposed “fake news” about the reported blunders in hosting the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

Kabayan party-list Rep. Ron Salo said he would be “happy” to investigate the disinformation on the controversial hosting of the biennial sporting event.

“I will definitely be happy to investigate this particular, fake news being propagated either in the social media or national media, traditional media,” said Salo during the plenary session at the House of Representatives.

The hosting of SEA Games has been marred with controversies from the ₱50-million cauldron, lackluster logo, reports of poor accommodation and food serving, issues with media accreditation, and unfinished construction of some facilities.

Senator Bong Go already said that the Senate is set to investigate the SEA Games if it proves to be a flop.

Moreover, Salo accused the media of propagating disinformation regarding the hosting and preparations.

“I have this personal impression that they are the first to have concerted, deliberate, organized malicious disinformation campaign in the media, both traditional and in social media, aim at discrediting the organizers., the games, and the Philippines,” he said.

The lawmaker also said the media is biased with their reportage on the games hosting.

“This representation is deeply bothered how the national media is treating every single alleged shortcoming in our hosting of the SEA games, as s if these are more important than the game itself,” said Salo.

He added, “They appear to be having a feast on featuring all the alleged mistakes but neglecting to report the good experiences of the majority of the delegates.”

Salo, however, said while issues surrounding the hosting of SEA Games should not be ignored, the critics should practice “restraint and discernment.”

“This is not to say that the concerns of these critics are not legitimate neither to say that erring officials should not be made accountable…neither we are saying to turn a blind eye and sweep under the rag the serious allegations of corruption. However, at this point we need to exercise extreme caution, restraint, and discernment,” he said.

Meanwhile, 1-Pacman party-list Rep. Enrico Pineda shared the same sentiments.

“I am ashamed that we have all been distracted form what is truly important. These issues should not be made bigger right now, if the budget was insufficient, if there are anomalies or problems, we can investigate these matters after the event is over,” said Pineda.

This will be the fourth time that the Philippines will host the biennial sporting event, with a budget of ₱6 billion.

President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday that he wanted to have an investigation on the alleged corruption in the hosting.

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