By Ben Rosario
Saying that works of art are usually judged by the future and not the current generation, Deputy Speaker Dan Fernandez on Saturday called for an end to the arguments over the P55-million symbolic cauldron of the 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEAG).
Fernandez joined Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, chairman of the SEA Games organizing committee Philippine Sea Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc), in defending the government expense for the project.
Sen. Manny Pacquiao, clearly the most popular and respected Filipino figure in international sports, will be the key figure in the lighting of the controversial cauldron to formally open the biennial sports event in the Southeast Asian region.
Fernandez slammed critics of the tower and cauldron that was designed by the late national artist for architecture Francisco “Bobby” Mañosa.
“Works of art are not judged by the current cost and beauty today. This SEA Games cauldron will win the hearts of those who appreciate art, whether Filipinos or foreigners, as a significant landmark designed by a Filipino architect,” he explained.
“Today, the cauldron is worth every cent we spent. Tomorrow, it will be worth more because in it is our national pride and an authentic Filipino work of art,” said Fernandez, a multi-awarded movie actor.
Earlier, Cayetano chided critics who aired serious doubts about the authenticity of the design as a Manosa creation.
The doubts aired on the authenticity of the design went viral on social media as it further fanned accusations of wrongdoing on the part of Cayetano and the Phisgoc which he heads.
One critic claimed that Mañosa was already retired and was ill when the cauldron was still on the designing stage.
The government spent P4.48 million for the design of the 54-meter structure. An additional P13.4 million was spent for the foundation while another P32 million financed the construction.
Cayetano said the criticisms are grossly unfair not only to the organizers but more to Mañosa’s family.
He said the design may have key elements a supposed Mañosa work like the Coconut Palace but he pointed out that the cauldron is not a building like the former.