GAB and P-Noy
WE FIND it rather difficult to understand why, up to now, President Aquino hasn’t appointed a chair of the Games and Amusements Board, which appears to be drifting aimlessly.
While we appreciate the many problems facing the President at this time—and it certainly doesn’t look like it is going to get any easier—it shouldn’t be too taxing a task to find the right man for the job. Besides, some of the more recent appointments to the GAB did so badly, if they did anything at all, that it makes the challenge to do better so much easier.
While the GAB isn’t a crucial agency under the Office of the President, it needs to be given attention given the achievements in boxing and billiards thanks to the unbelievable exploits of pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao and pool legends Efren “Bata” Reyes and Francisco “Django” Bustamante.
More so if the crusade to establish integrity, transparency and competence in government, as proclaimed by Mr. Aquino, is to be achieved.
It didn’t take too long for the President to name a chair and three commissioners for the Philippine Sports Commission which, by all accounts, required a more challenging discernment.
This makes us wonder even more about the delay in naming a GAB chair and commissioners if indeed the old guard named by the previous dispensation must go.
We trust that Mr Aquino’s choice in the end would not be one of those some perennial political lobbyists have campaigned for. That would be distressing.
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What the GAB sorely needs are men of the caliber of the late Justiniano Montano Jr. and the eminent lawyer Rudy Salud, who not only established a truly efficient organization whose integrity was unsullied but which, in turn, won the respect of the international sporting community.
We recall how Salud stood up to the American boxing moguls who wanted to continue their domination of the sport by having one representative for each state while the rest of the world got only one representative per country.
After resolutely and eloquently arguing the case for equal rights for Asians and South Americans in particular, the Philippines and its many allies broke away and established the World Boxing Council, which is today, despite some of its imperfections, the No. 1 governing body in professional boxing in the world. That’s the true mark of leadership.
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Our passionate love for the sport, which has thrilled millions of Filipinos with the achievements of our fighters who invariably come from the ranks of the poorest of the poor, demands that our boxers are protected. And the integrity of the sport from which they are able to earn and improve the quality of their lives and those of their families, should be maintained, if not strengthened.
This can only be done if the leaders of the GAB love what they are doing, know what needs to be done and resolutely pursue a program to restore the credibility and good name of the agency.
This can never be done if commissioners spend two days in the office, take the rest of the week off to travel to their hometowns and are not around when needed.
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Just the other day, we had the sad spectacle of WBC International flyweight champion Ryan Bito, who faces former world champion Edgar Sosa this weekend, having to take a grueling flight from Manila to Hong Kong, then to Paris and from Paris to Mexico.
That happened only because the GAB failed, despite the reported requests of promoter Gabriel “Bebot” Elorde, to make representations with the United States Embassy to help facilitate the issuance of transit visas to Filipino boxers with scheduled fights in Mexico.
This is certainly not the way to treat any fighter, let alone an international champion.
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