Victorico Vargas, the newly elected president of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), was sent by God to Philippine sports.
Filipino athletes have suffered in the past several years because of corruption, mismanagement and abuse of authority.
There is an urgent need to break the chain of corruption that has paralyzed the growth and developmenAt of Philippine sports.
Hence, there is an urgent call for change.
Despite several roadblocks that hindered the effective implementation of sports programs, specifically in swimming, the Philippine Swimming League (PSL) has persistently pursued its mission to develop young swimmers under its grassroots development program.
With the new leadership in the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), the support of President Rodrigo Duterte and the new face of POC under Vargas, the PSL is making the call for change at the institute level. If the problems are addressed, roadblocks to the development of Philippine swimming would be lifted.
The culture of patronage and politics in Philippine sports in general and in swimming in particular should be stopped. The institutional leadership of the Philippine Sports Commission should be strengthened to improve the formulation of effective policies and setting priorities and directions in sports promotion and development particularly on grassroots participation. The PSC should democratize swimming by implementing institutional and policy reforms, specifically on rule-making, visitorial and disciplinary powers over NSAs. And finally, the POC authority and NSA functions should be reviewed to make them more responsive and in harmony with the spirit of the law and the constitution.
With Mr. Vargas on board as POC president, there is hope that the system in Philippine sports will be changed, under President Duterte’s game plan, that athletes get equal opportunities for every athlete.” As I have mentioned several times, “Sports for All” must be implemented.
If President Duterte sees hope in sport for indigenous people, how much more for those athletes who already have potential and have shown their talents but were not included in the selection process for the National Team?
The president of PSI, Mark Joseph, was the subject of an arrest warrants issued by the Sandiganbayan for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and by the Regional Trial Court in Quezon City for child abuse, which has been tolerated by the past POC President, Peping Cojuangco.
We do hope that under POC president Vargas, the system will be changed and corruption will be stopped in Philippine swimming.
We hope that Vargas will sit down with PSL officials to hear the problem in Philippine swimming, perhaps in the presence of PSI representative, Lani Velasco.
PSI officials have been violating the law and this has been tolerated by the swimming community. These are the reasons why we have not bagged medals in Asian Games and Southeast Asian Games.
It has come to my knowledge that there are two presidents under PSI – the appointed OIC by Joseph, Lani Velasco, and Ral Rosario, Joseph’s former ally.
Both Velasco and Rosario, in my opinion, are not fit to be president or lead the swimming association.
Rosario has been with Joseph since 1986. He has been given enough time to serve the swimming community, but failed.
I would like to make it very clear that I don’t have any intent to be an NSA official.
I feel that I can serve the swimming community even without being an official of the NSA or the government.
The change in Philippine sports must come now under the PSC, an agency under the Office of the President, and the new POC president Vargas.