Better luck next time | Inquirer Sports
Bare Eye

Better luck next time

/ 10:37 PM October 03, 2011

In the event you received a message about the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation team first seeking clearance from the POC before digging in to lend a heroic hand in rescue and relief operations in Bulacan and Pampanga, please don’t pass it on.
Better yet, disregard and erase it.
It’s a poison text.
It could only be meant to detract from the nobility of the team, fondly called Pinoy Dragon Warriors, that bagged a total of five gold and two silver medals in record-breaking fashion at the Florida world championships last August.
* * *
In the first place, what could the Philippine Olympic Committee contribute in a military rescue operation, which is open to all well-meaning sectors of our beleaguered nation?
Did the POC, even for a moment, think of rallying national athletes to lend a hand in the relief and rescue operations?
The champion dragon boat team did not have to think twice before diving into troubled waters.
This, of course, was so unlike before their triumphant sortie in Florida, a great venture that was nearly abandoned following the vehement refusal of both the POC and the Philippine Sports Commission to give support and recognition.
* * *
For the record, the 20-member boat racing team participated “in the humanitarian missions on Sunday in response to a call from the Army chief, Lt. Gen. Arturo Ortiz, for soldiers to join in the rescue efforts.”
They used the same boat they rode to victory in Florida, said their team manager, Army Maj. Harold Cabunoc.
Cabunoc said the team trained for more than six hours daily for more international competitions this year “even without support from the PSC and POC.”
* * *
“But wasn’t the POC itself in dire need to be rescued?” asked one sports fan through a text message.
From what should it be rescued?
“From the flood of infamy it has been drowning in, no thanks to shameless politicking inside the organization.”
At the rate Philippine sports is being wracked by rotten politics, this same fan said, it may take a lifetime, if not a sweeping change in leadership, for the anomaly to be remedied.
* * *
Of course, this was not the case at the height of the perilous floodings in Central Luzon.
Contrary to critical comments, President Aquino, who did not immediately make himself visible, tried to take a direct hand in the rescue and relief operations as early as his Tokyo sojourn.
Of course, the President himself would swear there could have been more sensible operations, mainly in the dissemination of warning and safety information to victims in the affected areas.
Truth to tell, the President had obviously been convinced that all widespread mess and misery were all a result of climate change.
* * *
It might help if we could also listen to the advice and assessment of a tested crisis control consultant with the United National Development Programme (UNDP), whom we contacted in Bangkok on Saturday.
UNDP: “Too late for any meaningful solution. People need to heed warning and save lives and whatever valuables they can take.”
But there was no proper warning and safety information. People were caught flat-footed.
UNDP: “Agree, any recent improvements are inadequate.”
It’s unfortunate, everybody at a loss.
UNDP: “On hindsight, when Pagasa declared La Niña months ago, meaning that we will have more rains than usual, preparedness and other solutions should have been implemented.”
This means human failings also had a hand in the disaster?
UNDP: “Better luck next time.”
* * *
(Farewell announcement: The wake for Avelina Chang, 72, a pharmacist who died in Houston, Texas on Sept. 21, will be on Oct. 7 at the Tanyao family chapel in San Fernando, La Union. Interment will be on Oct. 9 at the San Fernando Chinese Cemetery. This was announced yesterday by my friend Peter Tanyao, brother of the deceased.)

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TAGS: Dragon Boat, Harold Cabunoc, POC, PSC, Sports

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