Rep. Romero calls for overhaul of POC

 

 

By Rose de la  Cruz

 

Rep. Michael L. Romero of 1-PACMAN partylist and assistant majority leader, is asking for the overhaul of the Philippine Olympic Committee leadership, which he said is “long overdue” and is in “dire need of a new direction, new energy and renewed focus.”

 

This, he said, is needed to save Philippine sports.

 

Despite many years and many chances, the current leadership has failed the Filipino people, our International ranking is now at 6th-7th place in Southeast Asia behind Singapore, Vietnam and even Myanmar. The longest-serving POC president has put the country’s sports program to its lowest ever records. It is time for a fresh start, he stressed.

 

These are the facts about the POC performance. The current president, Jose “Peping” S. Cojuangco, Jr. has been in power since January 2005. That is 13 long years. When measuring performance, at bottom line are medals. Here are the relevant Philippine medal counts.

 

For 13 years in power, Cojuangco has produced only 1 Olympic silver medal and at the Asian Games only 8 golds, 13 silvers, and 29 bronzes. At the SEA Games, the POC recorded under him 113 golds in 2005 (with a hosting advantage) to a big plunge to 41 in 2007 and a mere 24 golds in 2017.

 

PATHETIC

 

 The medals our athletes won are not pathetic. Those medals represent the best of the Filipino. Filipinos can win Olympic golds.Filipinos can do better than what the current pathetic POC president has done. His leadership and record is an insult to the blood, sweat, and tears our athletes, coaches, and their families have invested, he declared.

 

This record does not yet include a true and objective audit of all the millions of public funds from the Philippine Sports Commission which were poured into the National Sports Associations (NSAs) and the POC from 2005 to 2017.

 

He demanded a full special audit of all the funds the PSC gave to the POC and all the NSAs since 2005.

 

If it is found that there is a systematic and orchestrated misuse, pilferage, and malversation of those funds, all charges fitting for plunder.

 

He recalled that last September 2017, the PSC issued a resolution calling for the proper liquidation of funds and the return of some monies. The current PSC also asked the Commission on Audit to conduct a fraud audit of the government’s subsidies to the PSC, millions of which go the POC and NSAs.

 

Coming POC polls

 

Whatever the outcome of the POC Elections on February 23, he said, he sees a special opportunity for sports leaders, athletes, trainers, schools, local government units, and parents to come together for a new chapter in Philippine sports powered by and grounded on firm grassroots development programs, inclusive leagues, and much, much less political animosities than we have unfortunately had before.

 

He said that one thing needed is a stronger private-public partnership and cooperativism never before seen in our country. We also need upgraded laws, much better funding mechanisms, and varied international cooperation modes. The unfortunate pegging of Philippine Sports Commission funding to the obsolete sweepstakes must certainly be corrected and new funding sources must be found.

 

As our country’s economy gets even stronger, so will the resources it can set aside for sports development. Diversification of Filipino interests in sports would be the natural consequence of economic affluence, particularly of the growing middle class, and the reduction of poverty in the rural areas, Romero stated.

 

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