Restore full autonomy of NSAs, Lopez urges


National sports associations (NSAs) must regain full autonomy from the Philippine Olympic Committee to make them more effective and athlete-centered, according to former boxing chief Manny Lopez.

Lopez, the POC first vice president, said that unless NSAs free themselves from the influence of the all-powerful POC, the country’s performance in international competitions will continue to suffer.

“It’s the NSAs that are responsible for their activities, including the performance of their athletes,” said Lopez. “They are also accountable for the [competition] results as well as the returns on the PSC [Philippine Sports Commission] financial assistance given to them.”

Lopez is vying to retain his post in the POC elections on Nov. 30 at Alabang Country Club and allies himself with a group of sports officials seeking change in the Olympic body.

With Lopez are POC reelectionist chair Monico Puentevella, cycling’s Abraham Tolentino (second VP), squash’s Romy Ribano (treasurer), golf’s Jun Galindez (auditor), and fencing’s Toto Africa, volleyball’s Gener Dungo and baseball’s Hector Navasero (board members).

Lopez said his group believes that the local Olympic body should not meddle into the affairs of the NSAs, particularly the election of officers and training programs for the athletes.

“As long as the NSA does not contravene provisions of the Olympic Charter or of the POC constitution and bylaws, the POC must stay away,” said Lopez.

Incumbent POC president Jose Cojuangco Jr. is seeking a third straight term in the polls.

Cojuangco’s ticket is composed of triathlon’s Tom Carrasco (chair), karatedo’s Joey Romasanta (first VP), soft tennis’ Jeff Tamayo (second VP), wushu’s Julian Camacho (treasurer), Prospero Pichay of chess (auditor) and board members Cynthia Carrion of gymnastics, Jonnie Go of canoe-kayak, judo’s Dave Carter and sailing’s Ernesto Echauz.

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