Overstaying Cojuangco must go

The Pasig Regional Trial Court ordered new elections on Feb. 23 for president of the Philippine Olympic Committee. The post of POC president has been held by Jose Cojuangco, Jr. for the last 13 years. Impartial observers and sports followers have been clamoring for a younger man to lead the country’s athletic program for Olympic competition.

Cojuangco is a former Tarlac congressman. He is the brother of the late President Cory Aquino and uncle of former President Noynoy Aquino III. He is 83 years old. The age limit for a POC president, according to the rules of the International Olympic Committee, is 70 years old. Somehow, Cojuangco has managed to stay on at his post for so long. The IOC which governs all the Olympic bodies of countries has expressed its concern over the anomalous POC situation.

The Pasig RTC declared the POC’s Nov. 16, 2016 elections null and void because it disqualified Cojuangco rival Ricky Vargas allowing the former to run unopposed for his third four-year term.

The POC president has international travel perks and heads the Philippine athletic delegation to the Olympics every four years. Aside from a hefty salary and allowances, the POC president also has a lot of influence on the sports training program of various Philippine amateur athletic associations.

Cojuangco’s grip on the POC is blamed for the rut in the Philippines’ performance in past Olympics. The most the Philippines has achieved in Olympic competitions are the silver medals won in boxing by featherweight Anthony Villanueva in the 1964 Tokyo Olympiad, and Mansueto Velasco in the1996 Atlanta Games. Villanueva narrowly missed the gold in a controversial split decision loss to Russian opponent Stanislav Stephaskin.

The most recent silver was won by Hidilyn Diaz in women’s weightlifting in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Anthony’s father, Jose Luis “Cely” Villanueva, won a third bronze for the Philippines in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics where Filipino swimmer Teofilo Ydelfonso and high jumper Simeon Toribio also took home bronze medals.

But it has been mostly zilch for the Philippine teams in more recent Olympic Games .The Philippines failed to win a single medal in the Seoul, Beijing and London Olympiads. Compare the Philippines’ dismal showing to Olympic newcomers Singapore and Vietnam which each won a gold in the Rio games.

As in politics, the air at the top of Mount Olympus has a heady effect on certain people who can’t see the reality on the ground. This has been the case of Cojuangco who has to be pushed to get off the top and leave sports in better hands. The Pasig Regional Trial Court did just that.

Runaway TRAIN

The government’s Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion is careening like a runaway train.

It was conceptualized by the Department of Finance to generate some P300 million a year in government revenues. On the plus side, TRAIN exempts workers in the annual P250,000 income bracket from paying taxes.

The new law to some people, however, has the effect of a train wreck. Public school teachers, many of whom earn only P17,000 a month, will benefit the most from the tax exemption clause.

On the other hand, there are profit-driven merchants who are already implementing the law even when will not come into effect until the middle of this month. These unscrupulous traders are mostly in the retail sector, selling sweetened soft drinks and ready-mixed coffee containing sugar.

I’m not really affected by the new excise tax on food and drinks containing sugar. I am a diabetic who must and should really lessen his intake of sugar that spikes my glucose level. As far as tax exemption is concern, it does not affect me as I’m a retired person.

For millions of our countrymen, TRAIN has its benefits but also a downside in the increase of food prices. Profiteering retailers and wholesalers have passed on to consumers the excise tax levied on them by increasing their cost. The price of gasoline at the pump and other oil products will also have a ripple effect in the increasing prices of other commodities This is the principle of commerce and the law of supply and demand.

The rich, including many of our legislators who passed TRAIN, are hardly affected.

Trust and good faith?

On the Feast of the Black Nazarene attended by millions of Filipino devotees, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said “we must trust in the good faith of China in its territorial dispute with the Philippines.”

Oh, really? The man is totally out of touch and does not have an iota of geopolitics about the Chinese grand plan for hegemony in the region.

Perhaps Roque should join the punishing Black Nazarene procession for a miracle that China see the light and stop its sweeping claim over the entire South China Sea.

Topics: Overstaying Cojuangco must go , train

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