Dear Southeast Asia Games athletes,
We are called brothers for a reason: our countries and peoples are so closely related to each other such that what hurts one affects all the rest.
We are therefore terribly upset at what happened to you after arriving here in our country to join the SEA Games.
To be so shabbily treated in our land, whether in having to wait for hours at the airport or in having to sleep on the hotel floor or in being transported in cramped vehicles unfit for topnotch athletes, you certainly deserve more than what you have experienced so far.
Please believe us when we say we want to welcome you not just with a red carpet but with the most heartfelt smiles and hugs, the kind that will make you feel like you’re in the safest and most comfortable of places…home.
But alas, while our people deeply feel our oneness with you, it seems that our leaders are unable to send the message across.
Instead of putting in place a professional management for the Games, our President established a network of politicians whom he has praised as a brilliant team to oversee the event.
Instead of trusting in a fool-proof organization to supervise athlete arrivals, accomodations and transportation, our President handed over such functions to a private group ironically composed of the same politicians who now act as if they are experts in the field where they are so miserably failing.
Instead of investing funds to ensure that the SEA Games will showcase meaningful regional brotherhood, our national leadership spent millions of pesos in a cauldron that will serve as a symbolic torch to open an event which has obviously started off wrong already.
Those millions could have fed thousands of earthquake victims in our country, but we spent them on the SEA Games to fulfill a task in a manner that is supposed to justify its spending. Yet, the embarassing performance of our politicians who are shabbily treating your athletes in our country now makes the huge spending look utterly unjustifiable.
We are deeply sorry for what is taking place at the SEA Games in our country now. We are ashamed at what our President and his hand-picked politicians have done to your athletes and for painting a wrong picture of what Filipino hospitality is all about.
On behalf of our incompetent leaders, please accept our heartfelt apologies. Their actuations do not speak of our character as a people. Their arrogance and inefficiency do not necessarily reflect that of the whole Filipino nation.
We are one with you in showing to the rest of the world that we are the regional descendants of Lim Bo Seng, Nicolau Lobato, Abdul Muis, Okhna Khleang Moeung, Ho Chi Minh, Jose Rizal and so many more valiant men and women in Southeast Asia who will foster peace, friendship and unity for all.
You continue to have our highest respect and admiration.
We therefore pray that the forthcoming SEA Games in the Philippines will reflect our peoples’ common aspiration to uphold the things that unite us instead of those that divide us.
Very truly yours,
Ka Bino Guerrero