Press Release
April 14, 2009


Senator Loren Legarda yesterday told the sports associations to "stop squabbling and put your act together" in order to prevent another sports disaster for the country in the 25th Southeast Asian Games scheduled for December in Laos.

Loren made the statement as she expressed concern over reports that the officials of the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Sports Commission have been squabbling and neglecting the needs of the Filipino athletes preparing for the games.

"With barely eight months left before our athletes plunge into action, what I have been reading in the newspapers are the wrangling among sports leaders over, what some say, are their efforts to keep themselves in positions," she bewailed.

"Are our athletes given sufficient practice, proper food, vitamins and other necessary supplies and equipment adequate for their training? From what I hear even the toilets in the Ninoy Aquino stadium are dripping during rains," Loren bemoaned.

"Why must an athlete, a defending champion in his event at that, go to the United States all by himself just so he can start training without the help of the government?" Legarda asked. She was referring to long jumper Henry Dagmil, who left for San Francisco to train there on his own and with nary a help from the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) or the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).

"I was told that the PSC does not want to help the track and field association because its chairman, former Congressman Harry Angping is at war with Mr. Go Teng Kok. I wish to remind our sports leaders that they are mandated to assist the athletes TO prepare for local and international competitions and not to distract them or to withhold anything that are due them, including training support, equipment and allowances."

Loren called on sports leaders to exert efforts in looking after the welfare of athletes and not after their own personal interest.

"Two years ago, we ended up sixth in the Southeast Asian Games, our worst in the history of our participation in the biennial competition. Last year, none of our Olympians was able to advance beyond the first round of their respective events.

"Our sports officials should stop squabbling and pay more attention to the need of our athletes for the sake of our national prestige in sports," Loren declared.

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