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    A man of many hats, Rep. Yeng Guiao champions causes closest to his heart

    Oct 23, 2014
    Yeng Guiao says basketball and politics are two totally different fields. Reuben Terrado

    HOLDING court in a committee hearing in Congress, Yeng Guiao exudes a persona so different from how he is on the sidelines, so formal with his ways and speaking softly even when he is out to stress a point.

    "Hindi nagte-technical foul dito," said the fiery PBA coach, who also happens to be a first-time representative of the first district of Pampanga. "Hindi rin tayo nafa-fine dito."

    But on the court or in the halls of Congress, Guiao means business.

    In more than a year in office since toppling a member of one of the most prominent political clans in Angeles City, Guiao has championed causes which he feels will benefit the two fields closest to his heart.

    As vice chairman of the House Committee on Youth and Sports, he has co-authored a bill that would guarantee the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) an annual budget of at least P1 billion for grassroots and elite sports.

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    The bill, authored by committee chair Rep. Anthony del Rosario of Davao del Norte, has already been passed in the committee level and is set to go through a second and third reading in the plenary before being elevated to the Senate.

    To augment the bill, Guiao said the committee is also fighting for the correct remittance to the PSC of its five percent share in the revenues of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor), which the government sports agency has sought for years.

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    Right now, only 2.5 percent of Pagcor's revenue is being allotted to the PSC.

    The bill, however, wants the PSC to have a floor budget of P1 billlion annually, regardless of where the finances will be coming from, Guiao said.

    [See Rep. Guiao questions 'priority sports' program of PSC in wake of Asiad debacle]

    But the one project he has been pushing is the long-planned construction of a national training center for athletes inside the Clark economic zone in Angeles City, which happens to be in Guiao's district.

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    The Rain or Shine coach said he longs to see the national training base moved from the age-old Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila to Clark, which he said will not only benefit the national athletes but will also mean more jobs for his constituents.

    Clark Development Corp. officials, Guiao said, have already allotted 40 to 50 hectares of land inside the former US military base for the planned training complex.

    "Our sports officials all agree that the Rizal Complex is already outmoded," Guiao said. "If they decide to move the training center, Clark has already allotted a place for that. No need to buy the land. They just have to source the funds for the construction."

    Coaching and politics may be two vastly different fields, but Guiao said he had no problem transitioning to his role in Congress because of his previous position as vice governor of Pampanga.

    "The processes in Congress are no longer new to me because of what I used to do as vice governor of Pampanga presiding over the provincial board," said Guiao after the committee hearing that looked into the Philippines' dismal showing in the last Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.

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    "The scope is just bigger - instead of creating laws for the province, we're crafting laws for the whole country. But the process and the rules are the same."

    How about basketball and politics, he was asked.

    "They're totally different," he said. "The only similarity I think is that you have to deal with people in politics and in basketball, andi it has helped me be a consensus builder rather than a dictator."

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    Yeng Guiao says basketball and politics are two totally different fields. Reuben Terrado
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