A Muslim media officer with the Indonesian Men’s Football Team was disappointed with the 30th SEA Games organizers because their failure to make a distinction between halal and non-halal food in the meals that were served them had caused him to accidentally eat pork.
According to Maki Pulido's Tuesday report on 24 Oras, Gatot Widardo said that this lack of foresight had caused him to accidentally violate his faith's dietary rules.
“Until now, they [have] not improved yet. So we hope [in] the next days they can improve on this and separate the halal food and the non-halal food,” said Widardo.
On Monday, athletes from Singapore also wrote to the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) after they experienced a number of issues with their transportation, accreditation, and the lack of halal food.
The Singaporean Floorball and Netball teams ended up buying their own food.
“I think they (PHISGOC) were a little bit overwhelmed because there were quite a few teams that came at the same time, of course, there will be some shortages here and there,” said Singapore Team Manager Samuel Tan.
Out of 11 countries participating in the SEA Games, three are considered Islamic: Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei.
The National Commission on Muslim Filipinos on Tuesday said that the PHISGOC ignored calls they made last September to ensure that halal food would be available for Muslim athletes and guests.
"We waited for some communications. Wala na po eh. So we assumed na they can do it. Mahirap kasi ‘yung singit kami nang singit and they don’t find us important,” explained NCMF Executive Director Tahir Lidasan.
However, even non-Muslim teams experienced issues with food and water.
The Thailand National Football Team said they had to find their own drinking water because they were not provided with enough supplies by the organizers.
“Water is not enough, the food, amenities… but we tried to organize it by ourselves,” said Thailand National Football Team Assistant Coach Sawin Jaraspetcharanan.
PHISGOC had yet to respond to GMA News’ requests for comment as of posting time. — DVM, GMA News