I have recommended the termination of the DND/AFP Gintong Pangarap for Marathon effective immediately to the Secretary of National Defense and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines due to the following reasons:
1) Since the creation of this sports program was directed in producing a member or members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines as a potential Olympic Gold Medalist in Marathon and was conceived by a former Secretary of National Defense, this program had never attained its objectives for the past seven years. The other DND/AFP Gintong Pangarap Sports Programs in Shooting, Taekwando, and Boxing were later abandoned after one or two years after it was conceived by the same Secretary of National Defense. It was perceived that the creation of this sports program was a “knee-jerk” reaction or “pa-snappy” effect for the AFP to contribute to the country’s first Olympic Gold Medal.
2) Sports development, training and sustainment of support to elite national athletes are not the “core functions” of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Hence, the financial support to the DND/AFP Gintong Pangarap was not within the budgetary programs of the Major Services and that the Department of National Defense does not have any support to this program.
3) Since my retirement, there is no senior officer who had been designated to act as the Chairman of the said sports program. What is worse is that there are no interested senior officers to fill in the vacancy. Leadership and management of this kind of sports program must be given to somebody who is “hands-on” with the sports of marathon. Since this work is voluntary in nature, all the people involved in running this sports program do not receive any additional compensation or allowances.
4) The development, training, and support to elite athletes is the sole responsibility of the Philippine Sports Commission which is being supported by the government through Republic Act # 6847 which was signed into law by President Corazon C Aquino on January 24, 1990. I will write a separate post on this later.
5) I’ve been getiing mixed and negative reactions from Major Service Commanders on the conduct of road races through the DND/AFP Gintong Pangarap in terms of personnel and financial support. As a part of the program, each Major Service has to send at least 200 runners to participate in any road race and the registration fees of these runners are being given to the race organizer to cover for the finisher’s t-shirt, awards (medals, trophies, & cash), finisher’s certificates, flyers, race packets, free breakfast, water, cups, and other miscellaneous needs and expenses for the road race. I heard one of the Commanders telling me that supporting for 200 soldiers to run is very expensive which will cost his command P 40,000. It is true! It is very expensive but the joy of running and the experience of competing with yourself and with the other runners is something that money can not buy. One Commander also told me that the program could not produce an Olympian Gold Medalist in Marathon from his soldiers for the next 2-3 generations and it is useless continuing the said program. Another Commander also directed his 200 men (coming from his units outside Metro Manila) not to join the race but gave the P 40,000 instead to support the conduct of the race. According to him, bringing 200 of his men to Metro Manila will entail more expenses, higher than the contribution the program was asking from his Command. Another Commander, whom we thought to be supportive in sports development as he tried to improve the sports facilities in his Command, gave only half of the requested amount instead of paying the full amount as requested/promised to be given. Other VIPs also made comments that the activity was too long for them to wait where they have to wake up early on Sunday morning when we invited them to “fire the starting gun” at 5:00AM and for them to wait up to 8:00AM for the awarding ceremony. It seems that these VIPs would like to have a restfull and undisturbed weekend. Since then, we never attempted to invite civilian VIPs to grace our road race activities. All the comments I have heard were right and their manifestations showed doubts, negative concern or “lukewarm” attitude on the objectives of this sports program.
6) Each Major Service Command of the AFP has its Special Service Unit which directly supervises our national elite athletes who are enlisted with the Armed Foces of the Philippines. This is the appropriate unit to undertake this kind of sports program because it is mandated in their mission and objectives to promote sports development in every soldier in each of the Major Service Commands. The creation of the DND/AFP Gintong Pangarap for Marathon was a duplication of the mission of the Special Service Units. These Special Service Units of the different Major Services of the AFP and PNP are the ones administering the annual “AFP-PNP Olympics”.
Two years as the Chairman of this sports program, in addition to my primary position/job, had been fun and challenging just to be able to pursue its objectives. During my tenure, I was able to conduct five (5) renditions of road races—3 half-marathon races and 2 half-marathon team relay races, with the full support of past and present Commanders, friends in the AFP, and lately from Mizuno Sports.
As the past Chairman of this sports program, I, therefore, express my thanks to the past and present Commanders of the AFP who had supported the conduct of periodic road races under the auspices of the DND/AFP Gintong Pangarap for Marathon and to the untiring sacrifices of the staff and men of the DND/AFP Gintong Pangarap Running Club Incorporated.
Let the DND/AFP Gintong Pangarap for Marathon Sports Program end with my retirement from the active military service.
A new beginning is about to unfold. Watch out for the birth of the “Bald Runner’s Race Events”.