By Leslie Ann Aquino
Workers' group Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) has urged President Rodrigo Duterte to declare free entrance for all Filipinos to the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games to be held here in the country from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.
In a statement, ALU-TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said there are Filipinos such as ordinary workers who cannot afford the cost of watching the games.
"Mr. President, there are a lot of workers and their families who want to watch the games to express their homegrown support to Filipino athletes and help build that homegrown advantage they need, but they cannot afford the entire cost of watching the games,” he said.
"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 added.
“But as soon as the President declares free tickets, many will watch,” he said.
Tanjusay also believes the SEA Games is an opportunity to create a rallying point for Filipinos to reunite amid the controversies and misunderstandings surrounding preparations for the games that will be participated in by 10 other Southeast Asian nations.
“The SEA Games is a rare opportunity national healing, foster renewed patriotism, and reignite unity among Filipinos behind all Filipino athletes. The essence of the games is to unite all citizens in ASEANs (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and all Filipinos together.
“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,” he said.
According to reports, tickets to the games are pegged at P300, P200, and P100 while prices of tickets to the opening ceremonies on Saturday, Nov. 30 range from P1,000 to P12,000 per person.
The 30th SEA Games will be held in Manila, Subic, Clark, and in other locations in Luzon.