Taxpayers want results, not predictionsBy Manolo R. Iñigo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
As a taxpayer, I have always been conscious about the medals our athletes could win in international sporting events chiefly because a big bulk of public funds is spent in these meets.
I was therefore terribly disappointed when the Philippines only landed sixth in the overall standings of the recent 26th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Indonesia behind a forgettable medal harvest of 36 golds, 56 silvers and 77 bronzes.
It was the country’s worst finish since 1977, when it first saw action in the biennial meet. The country also placed sixth in the 2007 SEA Games, but with a better 41-91-96 medal haul.
In this year’s SEA Games, both Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr. and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chair Richie Garcia had predicted a 70-gold medal haul. But alas, both were dead wrong, missing their mark by just one half of their rosy forecast.
Taxpayers and sports fans alike want results, not wrong predictions from overconfident POC and PSC officials, whose upkeep they are paying for.
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Over time, the Philippines has made little progress in the world’s sports map, leading many disgruntled followers to say: “It’s time to change the rotten system, it’s time for a revamp.”
Many disappointed sports diehards are appealing to Congress to repeal Republic Act (RA) No. 6847, the law that created the Philippine Sports Commission in 1990, stressing the law is not serving its purpose because it is now outmoded.
They said that if Congress should amend RA 6847, then it should give the PSC chair a fixed term of four years.
This, they further contended, would ensure the continuity of the PSC’s sports program and help boost the country’s quest to win the first-ever Olympic Games gold medal.
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV even went further by seeking the abolition of the government agency and replacing it with a Cabinet-level government department whose head is only accountable to the Office of the President.
Some four years ago, Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero batted for a fixed term of at least four years to whoever would head the PSC because it would give him a “free hand in implementing projects free from intervention from his patrons in government.”
A three-term congressman from Sorsogon before becoming a senator of the land, Escudero said a fixed term for the PSC chair would give him added “financial muscle and political independence.”
Way back in 2001, I have also written why Philippine sports is floundering. I explained that it could be because of the frequency of changes in our government and, subsequently, in the PSC leadership.
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Lawyer Cecilio Hechanova was the first PSC chair in 1990 when he was appointed by then-President Corazon C. Aquino, mother of President Noynoy Aquino.
There were other PSC chairs, namely, Dr. Aparicio Mequi, GAB chair and PSC commissioner Dominador Cepeda, former Manila Mayor Mel Lopez Jr., Dr. Philip Ella Juico, who were all appointed by President Fidel V. Ramos from 1992.
Carlos “Butch” Tuason was named to head the PSC by President Estrada in 1998. Then in 2002, President Macapagal-Arroyo designated multi-awarded swimmer Eric Buhain to head the agency, who was later replaced by William “Butch” Ramirez, a true-blue sportsman from the Ateneo de Davao; and eventually by two-time Manila Rep. Harry Angping.
When President Aquino became the country’s president, he named Richie Garcia to the top PSC post.
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