FINANCE Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III defended the government’s investment in the “world class” New Clark City Sports Complex in Tarlac, calling the funds well-spent because the venue has the potential to attract more tourism.

The newly-built sports center will be used for the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in December.

“My job is to raise money for the government and when I do that I also want to see the money spent well and not wasted because believe me, it’s very hard to raise money for the government,” Mr. Dominguez said during a news conference at the sports complex.

“This project, I think, is well-spent. Not only for the athletes but also for the pride of the country. We have now for the first time in 18 years, a world-class sports facility,” he added.

Mr. Dominguez said the sports complex will boost tourism, sparked by the exposure provided by the SEA games.

Speaker Alan Peter S. Cayetano, who is also the chairman of the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC), said the government’s investment in the SEA games will boost the country’s reputation.

Bases Conversion and Development Authority President and CEO Vivencio B. Dizon added: “It’s not a kaldero (cauldron), national artists don’t build, design kalderos. They design monuments, tributes to inspire our people and athletes. The effect of this monument is priceless.”

Opposition politicians have criticized the spending on the games, with Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon questioning the P50 million spent on the tower that will house the flame, which he desribed as a “kaldero.”

The late National Artist for Architecture Francisco T. Mañosa designed the cauldron. — Beatrice M. Laforga