Mocha Uson, new deputy administrator of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), used fabricated figures in her post against Sen. Franklin Drilon, who previously questioned the cost of the cauldron to be used for the 30th Southeast Asian games.
The senate leader, along with other concerned Filipinos, previously raised concerns on the P50-million cauldron to be used for the torch lighting ceremony of the SEA games in New Clark City in Tarlac.
Uson shared on her blog a graphic of Drilon that seem to indicate his disapproval of the P50-million cauldron. Below it was a photo of the senator flashing a thumbs up sign beside a shot of the P140-million controversial toilet project for the Philippine National Railway (PNR) stations.
kinu-question ang Cauldron project ng SEA GAMES pero ung Toilet Bowl project sa PNR dedma lang? Utak talangka tlga. -=admin A=-
She also used the same figures in another graphic. This time, she added the P7.8-million flag pole plan which she claims Drilon did not question before.
Both posts made rounds more than 10,000 times on Facebook and even reached Twitter.
While the toilet PNR project was indeed anomalous, it did not cost P140 million as she claimed, rather it was P295.86 million.
The amount Uson used on her post was made up by a sketchy blog called phnewspride.blogspot.com.
The Commission on Audit had also since flagged this venture because it remained uncompleted after three years of implementation. Based on its 2016 audit report, only 53.17% had been finished.
The project called Kayo ang Boss Ko or KBK toilet was an initiative of the Department of Transportation back in 2012 supposedly to improve the toilet facilities in PNR stations.
However, the transport agency admitted that it was not implemented properly and had since been discontinued due to “absence of coordination.”
“The project was procured by DOTC separately; one for civil works and the other for supply of the materials, hence, the project was not implemented due to absence of coordination even after the end of the term of the past administration,” the DOTr said.
It should be noted that the DOTr had a different setup back then. The agency was headed by Mar Roxas, who only served for a year and was succeeded by Joseph Emilio Abaya in October 2012.
Meanwhile, the pricey P7.8 million construction of the Luneta flagpole also received its own share of criticisms from Filipinos online back in 2013.
Most of them questioned the price as being too expensive for a country with a high poverty rate.
Concerns on the cauldron
The three-meter-wide and 50-meter-high cauldron will reportedly be placed at the entrance of the athletic stadium in New Clark City in Tarlac.
Drilon argued that the P50-million budget for it could have been used to build much-needed classrooms instead.
“Is it valid, is it just that we do away with 50 classrooms to build a P50-million kaldero (pot) that we’ll use only once? I am not even talking about overpricing. I am talking about the propriety of doing away with 50 classrooms in order to put up a P50-million kaldero,” he said.
Gretchen Malalad, a 2005 SEA Games karate gold medalist, meanwhile, expressed frustration that the funds could have been used to support Filipino athletes instead.
‘Walang budget! Walang budget! Hindi na approve.’ Yan lagi naririnig ng mga atleta kapag nag-request ng funds for training and exposure abroad. Pero may budget ang gobyerno para sa 50M na kaldero,” she said on Twitter.
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, who chairs the Philippine Southeast Asia Games Organizing Committee, countered that the cauldron is a work of art by national artist for architecture Francisco “Bobby” Mañosa.
President Rodrigo Duterte similarly reasoned that the budget is high because it was designed by Mañosa.
“There can never be corruption in that situation because you commissioned a national artist,” Duterte said in a press conference.