• TRANSFORMATION

    Philippine politics and sports

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    (Last part)

    SUSAN PAPA

    SUSAN PAPA

    Many local swimmers whose parents are taxpayers were not given Travel Tax Exemption by the Philippine Olympic Committee-Philippine Sports Commission (POC-PSC) when they are competing in international competitions. Why? Because they are not members of Philippine Swimming, Inc. (PSI)—the National Sports Association for swimming.

    Is being a member of such private organization necessary to compete in the Summer
    Universiade, an Olympics-like sports and cultural event for college students and is the second largest international sports competition in the world next to the Olympics?

    What a shame! And the administration has failed to act on this injustice or has perhaps chosen to turn a blind eye and not hold anyone accountable.

    One of the major problems pulling sports down is poor leadership and widespread politics.
    I wish that Philippine sports leaders had the decency to resign when needed. We need new leaders with fresh ideas.

    Accountability must start from the top and this should be strictly implemented among the leaders of local NSAs, the PSC and the POC. It doesn’t take too many years to build an Olympian, and that the country should start planning long term if it is serious in making Filipinos excel in sports.

    And it is painful to compare the state of Philippine sports to those of our Asean neighbors.
    There’s no room for politics in sports.

    As an athlete, I agree that there is still much that the government and sports agencies should do to improve Philippine sports.

    The POC president who has been in his position for a long time must be aware that politics and lack of adequate government support are taking its toll on the many talented athletes that we have.

    What’s needed to be revised is the value that the government is giving to sports. It is not only about winning medals, but is also essential for growth of the Filipino nation.

    They know what’s wrong, they know what to do, but the question is, will they do it?
    Truly it’s a shame! JV Llaguno is very right that there is politics in sports in this country.

    As we’ve said, the help given by our compatriots in Australia will put to shame the PSC for not giving our PSL swimmers a P1,620 travel tax exemption. In fact, the Philippine Sportswriters Association recognized three swimmers in that contingent as among the country’s best athletes. A travel tax exemption endorsement will not cost the PSC a single centavo.

    What a shameful act of the PSC.

    In contrast, Australia, the state that the Philippines competed against gave all PSL swimmers a visa fee exemption.

    It is a shame how politics in sports is harming our athletes from the grassroots level.

    I hope that the next President that will be elected will finally democratize sports in our beloved country, the Philippines.

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