Press Release
January 28, 2010

Pia: Senate sets inquiry on sports bodies' row

The Senate Committee on Games, Amusements and Sports is set to investigate today the long-running squabble between the country's top sports governing bodies, namely, the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).

Senator Pia Cayetano said the objective of the legislative inquiry is not to point an accusing finger at anyone or to take the side of either agency.

Cayetano authored Philippine Senate Resolution No.1541 directing the chamber to review and clarify the respective mandates, roles and responsibilities of the POC and PSC.

"The country's poor performance in recent international sports competitions, compounded by the reported bickering between top sports officials, clearly justify the need to review the duties and functions of both the POC and PSC for the sake of our Filipino athletes," she said.

The inquiry will be chaired by Sen. Gregorio 'Gringo' Honasan, Chair of the Sub-Committee on Sports Competitiveness.

An active supporter of Filipino athletes and a sports enthusiast herself, Cayetano decided to bring the matter to the Senate amid the reported power struggle between PSC Chair Harry Angping and POC President Jose Cojuangco.

She expressed concern about how the row between the two leaders has been sowing disunity and demoralization among national athletes.

In her resolution, Cayetano noted that the Philippines landed just fifth overall in the recently concluded 25th Southeast Asian Games held in Laos after the national squad garnered 38 golds, 35 silvers and 51 bronze medals.

The Philippine delegation to the games was reportedly composed of 251 athletes: 153 sent by the PSC and 98 by the POC.

Aside from the poor medal haul, the country's performance was also marred by reports that not all the national athletes sent to the games were provided funding for training and allowances for the competition by the PSC.

The PSC is a government-run organization and its main funding arm in promoting sports throughout the country. It is mandated to plan, implement and oversee an integrated amateur sports development program in coordination with other sectors, including, among others, the POC and various National Sports Associations (NSAs).

On the other hand, the POC is tasked to oversee the country's participation in international sports competitions such as the Olympic Games, Asian Games, Southeast Asian Games. According to its Constitution and by-laws, the POC shall also act as the final arbitrator of all intra-NSA conflicts and disputes in case the same cannot be settled or resolved within the NSAs' processes and procedures.

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