Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Jose “Peping” Cojuangco said for the country to rule the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games anew, the Filipino athletes must posses a “champion mentality.”
With the biennial meet, to be staged in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on August 19 to 31, five months away from now, Cojuangco hopes every Filipino athlete will go there with a belief that they can win their event.
“Why would you be competing if you are not looking for the first place? And I want the mentality of our athletes say that in their mind,” said the 82-year old Cojuangco on Tuesday during the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association forum at the Golden Phoenix Hotel in Pasay City.
“I can say that now because we can give them what they need. Because if I would say that we want first place but we lack on these and that, they will always give you an excuse,” he added.
Cojuangco lamented the late distribution of funds of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) but wants the athletes to give their all in the SEA Games despite the delayed in funding their trainings.
“We will still work the best we can. That is why we have our Task Force Southeast Asian Games now to talk with the NSAs (National Sports Association) because we also don’t want to interfere with the NSAs since they also have the autonomy,” he said.
He added that training of athletes in Iba, Zambales would start any time next week after the second round talks with the NSAs.
Cojuangco added the training in Zambales would depend on the program of every NSA and to those who are willing to go there as long as the facility is available for them.
Cojuangco slammed some PSC officials for intervening with the training of national athletes.
“As far as I can remember, I was a member of that congress that passed that law (Republic Act No. 6847). That time, the committee is very strict. It states that the POC will have the control of the athletes while PSC will be the ones funding.”
According to RA 6847 or Act establishing the PSC, the government’s sports commission has the power to “exercise supervisory and visitorial powers over the national sports association in connection with their sports promotion and development programs with respect to which financial assistance is extended by the commission.”
Cojuangco, who did not mention officials involved, said under the International Olympic Committee (IOC) ruling, it does not allow the government to intervene beyond its charted limitations.
“There are some who want to take over sports. Well the IOC, I guarantee you, will not allow it. That is government intervention.”
Cojuangco mentioned that he is in good terms with PSC Chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez.
“I have no problem with Chairman Ramirez. He told me, ‘Ping I want the rural development and sports institute while you take charge with the training of athletes for the international competitions. That’s very clear [to us],” he said.
“If you really want to help sports, if you are to do it in such a way the working arrangement will be automatic between the PSC and POC, which is as far as I know, I was a member of the chamber when we drafted and approved this law, the job of the PSC is to finance,” Cojuangco ended.
The POC is a direct organization from its mother institution IOC while NSAs, which are under POC’s umbrella, receive funding from PSC.