A political war in the Philippine Olympic Committee has erupted once again.
Saying he was fed up by the group wanting to discredit him, POC president Ricky Vargas ousted several personalities from key positions, including former president Peping Cojuangco.
The group loyal to Cojuangco, claiming it is acting as conscience of the sports governing body, had several issues it wanted to settle, among them the respective roles of the POC and the Phisgoc Foundation in the running and hosting of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, as well as the alleged overpricing of outfits for the national athletes.
Time and again, the athletes could only watch and observe from afar and in silence, while doing they works they were tasked to do—train hard and make the country proud.
From the sideline, the Philippine Sports Commission, which plays an all-important role in the athletes’ preparation, especially the funding aspect, and the country’s grassroots sports program as a whole, could only hope for peace and unity.
Time and again, we ask: What ails Philippine sports? I found it the right timing to reprint in part the editorial I wrote for this paper a couple of years ago on the heels of country’s worst performance in the 2016 Kuala Lumpur Southeast Asian Games. Read on.
“What ails Philippine sports? This has been asked a countless times, but what makes it disturbing is that everybody seems to know the answer but no one is bold enough to lead the revolution for change.
The reality is that PH sports has been in the doldrums for quite some time now because sports officials keep on doing the same thing, while expecting different results. Some have the temerity to hang on for years―some even decades―to their posts, even if their leadership or the lack of it has only produced heartache and gloom for the Filipino sports fans.
Who would not want a lofty position in the POC?
Limousine services, five-star hotel accommodations and other lofty perks dangled by the National Olympic Committee heads of different countries among themselves, are just some of the privileges accorded high-ranking NSA officials when they go abroad.
This is the closest you can get to being a government dignitary, or perhaps a president of a republic.
This has been the same decayed system prevailing in Philippine sports for ages.
As they say, if it’s broke, then it needs fixing. Sadly, those who are doing the fixing need some fixing themselves.”
PSC chairman Butch Ramirez, shortly after declining the chef de mission post, called on the POC officials to sit down and thresh out their differences, especially now that we are six months away from the SEA Games hosting.
“As the Chairman of the PSC, I call upon all our sports leaders to step back and take a moment to consider peaceful interactions. I still believe that we can all sit down and civilly thresh out what needs to be straightened out. The PSC is open to host a dialogue between parties and provide neutral ground for everyone to air their side and ultimately to either sacrifice or step-up in the interest of a unified sporting community.”
A class act, indeed.