Cayetano urges P-Noy to help resolve dragon boat row
By Abac Coredero and Marvin Sy
The Philippine Star, 23 August 2011
For three hours, the Senate Games and Amusements committee yesterday tackled the problems hounding Philippine sports, more particularly the brewing controversy involving the dragon boat team.
Apparently, three hours weren’t enough.
“Are my statements that there are so many problems in sports just a misconception? Excuse me. I think if we only had more time we would unravel more problems,” said Sen. Pia Cayetano.
She was apparently taking swipes at the country’s top sports leaders, Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose Cojuangco and Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richie Garcia, and urged President Aquino to look into the issue.
“President (Aquino) must intervene because it is only the President can say to these people that we will only send the best of the best. If we have officials who have the interests of the athletes in mind and not those who supported them in the last elections, there will be less problems,” said Cayetano.
The inquiry was supposed to center on the standards being followed by the POC and PSC in recognizing and supporting an NSA (national sports association) like the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation.
The PDBF team, relying on the support of the private sector, won five gold and two silver medals in the recent IDBF World Championships in Tampa, Florida. They were also the world champions in 2007 and 2009.
But the POC and the PSC said they cannot reward the team with cash incentives because the PDBF has recently been stripped its NSA status by the POC headed by Cojuangco.
Cayetano said the issue was not resolved because the POC and the PSC based their demand to put the PDBF under the Philippine Canoe Kayak Federation on a documentation lifted out of the canoe-kayak website.
Cayetano blasted some POC and PSC officials who apparently tried to downplay the significance of the victory in Tampa, saying the team members “were already old” or they may end up “eating mussels.”
“We are setting such a bad example, coming from the very mouth of people supposed to be well-respected. How can it be an inspiration to our athletes?“It all boils down to leadership,” Cayetano said.
Former senator Nikki Coseteng was also at the hearing and talked about the problems within the Philippine Aquatic Sports Association headed by Mark Joseph, the POC deputy secretary general.
Cayetano said the POC and the PSC must settle the dragon boat row in 48 hours because it’s just three days before the deadline of submission of the official list of Phl representatives to the Indonesia SEA Games in November.
PHOTO: WORLD’S BEST. Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Senator Pia Cayetano award a resolution commending members of the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation (PDBF) Team for their exemplary performance at the recent 10th World Championships held in Tampa, Florida.