SENATOR Manny Pacquiao began steps to resolve the issues surrounding Philippine sports, starting with fixing the overlaps between the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee, through a Senate hearing on Tuesday.
Pacquiao, chairman of the Senate Committee on Sports, bared he plans to file a bill that would clarify problems hounding Philippine sports, including his plan to set clear functions for the POC and PSC.
“Dito sa ifa-file natin na panukala, eto ang mag-aayos ng lahat ng problema,” Pacquiao said in an interview with reporters following the four-hour hearing attended by officials of the PSC, POC and national sports associations.
“May overlapping (functions) ang POC at PSC. Ilagay natin sa tamang proseso ang sports habang ako’y senador pa,” he added.
Several issues were tackled in the said hearing, including the P16 million unliquidated government funds by the POC from 2010 to 2016 bared by the Commission on Audit.
COA also said a total of P27 million is still to be returned by officials of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Philsoc), some of whom are also POC officers, in relation to the country’s hosting of the 2005 SEA Games.
The POC, however, said based on its records, only P1 million is left unliquidated by the national Olympic body. Among those present in the Senate hearing were POC president Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco, who welcomed the said proceedings.
“I think we were able to clarify the issues, ‘yung mga sinasabi na unliquidated, na-presenta naman namin ‘yung liquidation papers,” said Cojuangco.
Cojuangco also believed the hearing also clarified perceptions related to the POC, including the alleged interference in NSA affairs.
“We have the process in the POC. Akala nila ako lang ang nagmamando. For example, ‘yung boxing, sila naman ang gumagalaw, wala namang kaming ginagawa,” said Cojuangco.
Pacquiao said the investigation will continue.
“Tuluy tuloy ang imbestigasyon dahil pera ng gobyerno ito. I’m not questioning the POC. I’m questioning the funds that goes to the private sector from the government,” Pacquiao added.
Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines executive director Ed Picson also bared what he described as interference by the POC and Cojuangco on its affairs particularly towards their selection of athletes that will compete in international competition as well as where to train outside the country.
Internal squabbles within NSAs were also discussed, where former Senator Nikki Coseteng bared her ill-feelings as president of the Philippine Swimming League, saying that their swimmers were not allowed to vie for slots in the national team.
The PSL is currently engaged in a lengthy row with the Philippine Swimming Inc. headed by president Mark Joseph, whose group is recognized by the POC and Fina, the international federation of swimming.
The leadership row in bowling between the Philippine Bowling Federation of president Steve Hontiveros and incorporated by the sports’ legends Paeng Nepomuceno and Bong Coo, and the Philippine Bowling Congress of president Guillermo Mallillin was also be taken up in the hearing.
Pacquiao said he plans to schedule more hearings in order to complete his bill.
“Hopefully, next week, ma-file na natin ito,” said Pacquiao.