Wanted: Peace, changes in Philippine sports
There will be much anticipation for the nationwide protest to be staged by opposition groups this Thursday, the anniversary of the 1972 declaration of martial law.
Malacañang declared Sept. 21 a holiday in the National Capital Region in anticipation of the protest rally to be held in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.
Over at the iconic Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila, another protest rally to be led by Sports Commissioner Ramon Fernandez against the hierarchy of the Philippines Olympic Committee will also be held.
Fernandez, a PBA legend, is the most fervent critic of POC president Joe “Peping” Cojuangco and has called for his resignation several times.
The rally, dubbed “Peace and Change in Philippine Sports,” comes after the country’s anemic 24-gold medal finish in the recent Kuala Lumpur Southeast Asian Games—its lowest output since Brunei 1999, when Team Philippines collected 20 golds out of the 223 at stake.
Expected to join Fernandez in the rally, which will start in the morning and end at noon, are sports officials, athletes, coaches and those who love sports and are clamoring for change in Philippine sporting landscape.
Fernandez has also called on sports-loving people in Mindanao and Cebu City to hold their own protest rallies.
Meanwhile, Philippine Sports Commission Chair Butch Ramirez has denied reports that he’s behind the protest action, saying there has been no approved board resolution with regards to the rally.
Ramirez said whatever actions Fernandez takes will not be representative of the PSC’s stance.
“While we are one board, we are all presidential appointees,” said Ramirez.
“The action of one commissioner is not collective because there was no board resolution that one commissioner will approve the rally. It’s an individual action.”
The country’s faltering performance in the biennial SEA Games started right after the Filipino athletes won the overall championship of the 2005 Manila Southeast Asian Games, a year after Cojuangco assumed the POC presidency from Celso Dayrit.
The Philippines won 41 golds in 2007, 38 golds in 2009, 36 in 2011, 29 in 2013 and also 29 in 2015.
Fernandez is hoping that the Sept. 21 protest rally will wake up the POC president from his slumber and finally see the light.