Opinion: On Philippine Sports

The column below by Mr Recah Trinidad shows his dismay in the dismal performance of our athletes in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games through the comments he got from sports fans and from his friends. It seems also that our athletes were just used to represent our country in the Olympic Games and thereby letting our sports officials, politicians, and their friends/supporters to have a “free ride” to watch the Olympic Games in behalf of the government’s and taxpayers’s money.

I made a prediction that the Philippine Team will not win any medal this time for the simple reason that our athletes’ qualifications before the Games are not considered within the Category “A” of Olympic Standards which means that there are more elite athletes on top of them and our athletes are not even Gold Medalists in the past Asian Games. And the other reasons are just personal impressions and opinion from what I have read, heard, seen and personally experienced.

What will happen next after the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games? I published the following predictions in my previous post and some of these predictions are now being realized: 

“As I said, after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, we will read in our daily newspapers “finger-pointing” as who failed in our bid for our first Olympic Gold Medal and as who will take full responsibility for such dismal performance. Are the athletes, the sports officials, national sports associations, the POC, the PSC, the government, the local governments, the Department of Education, Culture and Sports, AFP/PNP, or the private sector be blamed again? The PSC and POC is now blaming the heads of the National Sports Associations and giving some “signal” for them to resign! The PSC is also blaming the PAGCOR and PCSO of not remitting the much-needed fund support to the athletes.

I guess, our media will blame that we are a “poor” country and that providing food to the dining table and solving our poverty problem is a much better priority to address than our problem in sports! Anyway, Manny Pacquiao, “Django” Bustamante, “Bata” Reyes, and “Paeng” Nepomuceno are there already successfully bringing the country into the map of sports worldwide.

Anyway, these are my predictions as the courses of action of our “intelligent & smart” citizens as “knee-jerk” suggestions to improve our sports programs as a result of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games:

1) One or two of our senators/congressmen will ask for an official inquiry why our Olympic Team had a dismal performance in the Olympic Games. (This act will boost his/her exposure in the media and for his/her bid for a higher elected position in the 2010 presidential elections). If the Chairmen of the Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Sports will not react or do something about our performance in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, then, he is not doing his job or he does not care about Philippine Sports. We might as well not vote him/her for re-election next time.

2) One of the advisers of the President will suggest to her to create a Department of Sports & Athletes whose head is a Cabinet position and the President has full direct supervision to the said department. Maybe, she can appoint Manny Pacquiao, Bata Reyes, Onyok Velasco, or Paeng Nepomuceno to this post! ha!ha!ha! It would be better for the President to appoint his half-brother, Art Macapagal as the Chairman of the Philippine Sports Commission, replacing Commissioner William “Butch” Ramirez.

3) The President will promise infusion of her funds to the PSC, maybe, One Billion Pesos, to create more sports facilities in the local governments and support our elite athletes. The President has done that in the AFP’s fight against insurgency in order to meet the deadline of solving the problem by 2010. It will just be a promise, anyway, and everything will be back to “square one” because the implementation part will be the hardest to be realized. PAGCOR and PCSO are still the source of fund support which are not consistent in their support.

4) The Philippine Sports Commission will immediately conduct a well-publicized “Sports Forum/Seminar-Convention” inviting all the sports national associations, members, and the public to discuss and come up with a national sports strategy. The PSC will invite top athletes, coaches, private sponsors, and media from us and from other countries to share their experiences. The result/s of this convention will be briefed and given to the President. But after that, nothing will happen as we “backslide” to where we were again. This “forum/convention” thing had been done before in every administration of a new President since former President Marcos. One of my predictions which is becoming a reality–the PSC will conduct a “Sports Summit” as soon as possible! Bloggers are encouraged to attend and observe in this “Sports Summit” and I hope I will be there to join.

5) Those “armchair sports officionados” will ask for “some heads to roll” from the President as “fall guys” in our dismal performance in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. They might also ask for the resignation of the Chairmen of the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Sports Commission and political allies/supporters will ask the President to recommend this and that person/s who will start our sports program from zero and present to us nice “plans and promises” again. Another prediction being considered as Mr Recah Trinidad’s column is doing it! This is happening right now where the top sports officials are now pressuring the NSA heads to resign.

6) I hope one of our “investigative journalists” will deeply research and investigate on the present condition of our sports program, the functions of each sports commissioner, the accountability of PSC’s finances, and publish his/her report in the daily newspapers, TV, sports magazines, and radio outlets. I don’t know of anybody who has the “guts and balls” to do this among our journalists. Maybe I will ask Glenda Gloria of Newbreak or Ellen Tordesillas of Malaya or Bishop Angel Lagdameo (yes, I consider him a journalist) to do this!

7) One of the advisers to the President will come again with a “project/program” geared towards attaining our first Olympic Gold Medal as what had happened after the 2000 Olympic Games where a Cabinet Secretary suggested to the President for the DND/AFP to train the soldiers among the best in shooting, boxing, taekwando, and marathon. He promised to the President that the first Olympic Gold Medal will be coming from the Armed Forces of the Philippines but there was no funding allocation to speak of! After two years, only the marathon program existed and lasted for another six years!  I hope the Secretary of DECS, Secretary of Finance, or Manager of the Central Bank of the Philippines will volunteer in this effort.

8) All the politicians who will be planning to run for President in 2010 will be visible or even personally sponsoring sports events in Metro Manila just to give the “impression” that they are also fit and athletic (?) or fully support our sports program and national athletes…which is very far from the truth!”  This thing is happening already!

Bare Eye
Dyesebel, Asero, Lastikman for RP in the Olympics

By Recah Trinidad
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 06:27:00 08/19/2008

BEIJING—The way the RP Olympic contingent was peddled to an excited public, the elusive first gold medal could be only one lucky text message away.

Or, as RP chef de mission Monico Puentevella had bragged, the Philippines needed only one good draw to progress toward the dream gold.

Sorry, but after getting his wish and drawing a relatively light first assignment, boxer Harry Tañamor, the country’s strongest hope for a medal here, wilted instantly and lost his fighting wits once inside the ring.

The result was a tragic upset whose aftershock was felt with jarring effect all the way home.

* * *

The setback disturbed everybody who had a stake in the RP campaign, including the country’s chief executive.

The Tañamor result also showed that RP’s first gold could be millions and millions of text messages away.

In fact, boxing superhero Manny Pacquiao, himself terribly disappointed, readily offered to run the national amateur boxing machinery in order to help discover and develop future Olympic medalists.

There was a prompt and popular call for Manny Lopez, head of the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines, to step down.

* * *

He could have asked for Lopez’s head.

But ever the gentleman, Pacquiao telegraphed his message by offering to help and reform the beleaguered boxing agency.

Sad to say, there were thousands and thousands of disappointed sports fans out there who wanted to scream and make their displeasure heard.

Yes, there’s no longer a need to request the Social Weather Stations to do a poll on how badly the Pinoy sports fan feels about the shameful performance of our athletes here.

* * *

In fact, we have with us an unhappy heap of Olympic-related messages emanating from home sources.

This one from our friend Boy Fernandez, owner of world-class Rommel billiards tables, takes the cake in projecting the pitiful fate of the RP contingent here:

“No medal again. Wala na naman nakuha sa Olympics. OK, let’s call for the resignation of the head of the Philippine Olympic Committee. Let’s not entrust our athletes with the government. Let’s trust ABS-CBN and GMA-7 instead. For the Olympics, padala nila si: CAPT. BARBELL for weightlifting; DYESEBEL-swimming; PALOS-track and field/marathon; ASERO-boxing; KUNG-FU KIDS-taekwondo; LASTIKMAN-gymnastics. Sure dito gold medal, ito real DREAM TEAM.”

* * *

This next one was sent by a dedicated sportsman, Atty. Sammy Estimo, many time captain of the RP team to the World Chess Olympiad:

“We will pray hard for our athletes. The incentives promised them by the government and the private sector won’t help them win gold medals. We have powerful prayer warriors in our group who will storm the heavens with cries and prayers for RP to win its first Olympic gold.”

That was sent to us on Aug. 10, the day we left for this capital.

It was already too late before lawyer Estimo realized that even the sincerest of prayers won’t help.

Here’s his latest message:

“You’re right, we can still bring home gold from Beijing if we steal Mao’s gold teeth from the museum. The master thief in the palace by the Pasig can do it, with Ben Abalos as lookout. Joc Joc Bolante will then finish if off with a sprint! He, he.”

* * *

He continues to weep for the poor RP contingent, confides two-time national bikathon champion Jess Garcia from Mangaldan, Pangasinan.

But how lucky could they be out there in Pangasinan, who all get a live 24-hour cable television Olympic feed, courtesy of Urban Satellite Television (USATV), owned by the family of Dagupan Vice Mayor Belen Fernandez.

Cycling Jess says he stays up as much as 15 hours a day to watch the Olympics, with no good news whatsoever on the RP contingent.

His message: “Keep lambasting these ’great pretender’ RP sports officials. All they did was predict and get a free ride to the Olympics at people’s expense. But all our athletes flounder and fail because of their incompetence. Wala naman binatbat. Wrong system, wrong direction. They should be humble para hindi sila mapahiya. Keep punching.”

* * *

From civic worker Nandy Charvet of Mandaluyong, an avid sports fan: “Manny Lopez must be feeling very bad after reading your column. He might call a press conference to lecture on art and mediocrity.”

Well, we could go on and on, but still find no hint whatsoever on how to win RP’s first Olympic gold.

In closing however, here’s the chair of the Philippine Sports Commission, William “Butch” Ramirez, on his plans when he returns home from here:

“If they will not make radical changes, we will focus our money for the establishment of the national sports institute and at the same time launch a genuine talent identification program to fortify our grassroots talent development system.”

You have not heard of this one yet, but our sports leaders, excluding Ramirez, plan to have another national sports summit next month to, oh no, find solutions to the Philippine sporting ills that they have allegedly rediscovered while here.

Their way of preparing for their free trip to London 2012.

Okey, enough had been said about our participation to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and our sports officials’ plans for the future of Philippine Sports. The next question is—“Where is that P 15.5 Million Cash Reward for the Gold Medal going to? The answer is…You are right, the sponsors who committed cash rewards will keep their money and the share from the Philippine Sports Commission (P 4.5 Million) will be used for the incoming “Sports Summit”.

Very sad, indeed!

2 thoughts on “Opinion: On Philippine Sports

  1. sfrunner

    Hey BR. I agree with you that action needs to be taken on this. Personally, I think all P 20.0 million ought to go towards the Sports Summit! Even though I’m an American citizen, you never want to see any country shut out. To me, it was sad to see only 15 Philippine athletes perform in Beijing from a country that has over 90 million people.

    Hopefully, the Sports Summit will provide answers instead of finger-pointing. That won’t help the progress towards putting a team together for London in 2012!

    For those who read your blogs, I help our athletes through the dues that I pay yearly through USA Track And Field. This is optional but I do it because our athletes aren’t funded by the government. This question was brought up to me recently in an e-mail.

    Anyway, good luck to you in the upcoming ultra!


  2. kingofpots

    wayne, the “Sports Summit” that I am describing in my post is just a simple convention/seminar where our “bright people” will come up with a paper/blueprint to where our sports program is going. we had done this before every time we got zero medal in the past olympics but nothing happened from those papers on plans/strategy/blueprint/vision, etc..my point is that the money will be put into waste (again) instead of spending the money for the training and support to our athletes.


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