IT is better for Philippine sports that there is now an open clash of viewpoints between the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) headed by William Butch Ramirez, and the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) headed by Jose “Peping” Conjuangco, Jr.
It is better to rock the boat, than to allow the status quo to remain – wherein Cojuangco serves as virtual dictator over national sports, while his gang at the POC keeps him in office forever and enables him to compromise Filipino participation in international sports competition.
What triggered the clash is the assertion by the sports commission that it has visitorial and supervisory power over the Olympic committee and national sports associations (NSAs).
This is consistent with Republic Act 6847 — the law that created the PSC in 1990 and vests in the body the responsibility of managing public funds in support of sports development and of ensuring that government resources are used properly by the various sports associations.
This policy is also logical because the PSC finances from its budget the allowances and expenses of athletes and coaches during training, and the operations of the NSAs by providing office space and shouldering the costs of utility and personnel services.
Such extensive PSC involvement in POC operations logically indicate the accountability of the POC and the NSAs to the commission. No public funds should be used by them otherwise.
In times past, the POC has selfishly tried to escape accountability by claiming that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) forbids government involvement or meddling in sports matters. It claims cravenly that the POC could be suspended by the IOC.
This position is absurd and indefensible. There is no charter anywhere that says the responsibility for a nation ‘s sports and sports community lies outside the purview of the government which shoulders sports funding, and that the destiny of national sports should be placed in the hands of a private association like the POC. Membership in the Olympic system is by country not by private associations or individuals. And it is the honor and prestige of the nation that is placed on the line in sports competition.
No country anywhere will endorse the POC’s line of thinking. No IOC official will dare stand by it.
The sad reality is that this thinking has been used by the POC to control undemocratically the Philippine sports system. It has led to a set-up where a gang of a few sports leaders have perpetuated themselves in office. It has inflicted a situation where a father and daughter hold the two top positions in our Olympic committee.
We believe that by forcing these issues and the true situation out in the open, the PSC and chairman Ramirez will facilitate the long-desired review and reform of our dysfunctional and under-performing sports system.
Nepotism and cronyism in the system must end. Mr. Cojuangco must finally realize that he is a bane on national sports.
With reform, sports excellence will thrive again in our country of over 100 million.
With reform, our people will have reason to cheer our athletes once again.
Reform cannot come too soon.