My prediction that the Senators/Congressmen will come out with a formal inquiry on the dismal performance of our athletes and Sports Officials during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games is coming true!
My prediction on the result of this Senate Inquiry? I predict that nothing tangible will happen as a result of the inquiry! The inquiry will be a forum for “grandstanding” politicians—it will be a clash of ideas and full of recommendations and promises but I doubt if these things will be implemented.
The Bald Runner’s solutions to our sports debacle and problems are the following:
1) Political Will
a) Replace all the Commissioners of the PSC, change the leadership of the POC, and replace all the Presidents of the National Sports Associations. Designate non-political figures. A lot of “political will” is needed to do this!
b) Implementation of our Sports Program/Strategy and its Continuity whoever is the Chairman of the PSC, Chairman of the POC, and Presidents of the National Sports Associations.
c) Establishment of a Sports Academy or Sports Institute—I heard this concept during the administration of former President Fidel Ramos but up to this time I don’t know if we have one.
d) Accountability and Tranparency of Finances and Expenses.
2) Money, Money, & Money
a) Appropriate more financial support to athletes, not to sports officials!
b) Private/Corporate Involvement is highly encouraged. Special Sports Projects like the NIKE’s Project Oregon, Team Running USA, and Brooks-Hansons Distance Project of the USA should be adopted. Such projects could be supported by Lucio Tan, Henry Sy, Reghis Romero, Ayalas, Gokongweis, and those personalities who promised cash rewards to our first Olympic gold medalist.
Anyway, read the following news report from www.inquirer.net:
Olympic blame hunt kicks off
Escudero: Control NSA aid
Sen. Pia Cayetano is expected to follow suit. The former national volleyball player has said she will also file a resolution that will look into the country’s National Sports Associations and how they are run.
Bacolod Rep. Monico Puentevella, on the other hand, will deliver a privilege speech on Wednesday to persuade congressmen to force the hand of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) to give the Philippine Sports Commission its rightful share of the gaming agency’s profits.
“It is a shame that in 84 years [of Philippine Olympic participation] not even one athlete was able to bring home a gold medal,” said Santiago.
The country’s delegation to Beijing failed to net a single medal. Aside from not having won a gold medal in Olympic history, the Philippines stretched its medal-less stint in the Summer Games to three editions or since the 2000 Sydney Games.
The country’s last medal was the silver won by boxer Manueto “Onyok” Velasco during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
In Beijing, the Philippines won a handful of medals in wushu, including a gold from Willy Wang, but the sport is not part of the regular Olympic calendar and the results of the demonstration event do not count in the final standings.
“The poor performance of our athletes in the Olympics is not due to bad genetics but the State’s lack of concern for the development of a comprehensive program in the area of sports,” said Santiago who noted that sports “should not only be enjoyed but also taken seriously.”
Sought by the Philippine Daily Inquirer for comment, PSC chair William “Butch” Ramirez said he welcomes the Senate inquiry.
“I will be glad to answer all the questions thrown PSC’s way,” Ramirez said.
Santiago wants the Senate to look into the salaries of PSC officials, the selection process of NSAs and how they allocate their budget for their athletes and the controversies hounding the Philippine Olympic Committee.
Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, meanwhile, applied the reins on the blame game, saying “there is no need to squabble [or] finger-point now.”
“The Olympics are over and done with, we need to move on, but we have to learn from the mistakes we’ve committed,” added Escudero, who wants a more proactive solution to the sporting debacle.
Cayetano is urging a return to the “Project: Gintong Alay” days. The popular sports development program, ran by Michael Keon, ushered in a golden age for Philippine sports and produced the likes of Asian sprint queen Lydia de Vega and Elma Muros.
“I have so much faith in Michael Keon and his Gintong Alay [program],” said Cayetano, whose stint as a national player was covered by the program.
Keon, a nephew of then President Ferdinand Marcos, implemented a program well funded by the government and ran by professional sports managers.
Escudero, on the other hand, is vouching for the PSC to have greater control of its funding for NSAs.
Escudero, echoing a bold plan by PSC chair Ramirez, said NSAs should get their share of government funding based on merit.
“I received information the PSC is keeping records of NSA performance, including NSAs which performed poorly, not only in the Olympics but in other competitions as well,” Escudero said.
“These records would provide a jump-off point for the merit-based support system which we are trying to propose,” he added.
“The PSC should re-evaluate its spending. While it could not limit its support to just a few, a big concentration of its funding should be spent on sports associations with real chances of winning in the Olympics.”
Escudero is also backing Puentevella’s move to bring back the PSC’s share of five percent from the gross income of the Pagcor.
Clearly, though, the country’s top lawmakers want a close look at how NSAs are being run.
“There are just too many politicians running the NSAs and that is our big problem,” Cayetano told the Inquirer.
Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri suggested that the sports authorities focus on a few sports programs where the Philippines could excel such as boxing, badminton, wushu and taekwondo.
Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said: “Our demeaning Olympics performance can’t be excused just because we are a third-world country. Kenya, Nigeria, Jamaica are not first-world countries but got medals.”