PHILIPPINE sports found one generous friend in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) following a total of $450,000 (roughly P20 million) in donation by the IOC to the country for use in the rehabilitation of sports facilities in areas damaged by super-typhoon Yolanda.
The good news was announced on Saturday and served as highlight of the 32nd General Assembly of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).
The country was badly hit by typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) last November, with Eastern Visayas bearing the brunt especially the provinces of Samar and Leyte.
On top of it, the Japan Olympic Committee also pledged US$30,000 for the typhoon relief efforts.
“I didn’t expect this,” said an obviously elated Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose `Peping’ Cojuangco. “These people are all capable of helping.”
OCA president Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah of Kuwait made the announcement regarding the donations in the presence of IOC vice president John Coates of Australia.
In its letter addressed to Cojuangco, the IOC under head Thomas Bach of Germany, expressed its sympathy to the countless victims of the typhoon.
“It is with great shock and consternation that we have witnessed the appalling devastation in your country caused by the passage Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) and we would first and foremost like to express our sympathy to you and the people of the Philippines,” the IOC said.
The IOC said it is also aware that “the needs of your NOC (National Olympic Committee) and indeed your country as a whole are of towering proportions.”
The donation or subsidy represents US$150,000 in equal shares from the IOC itself, the Olympic Solidarity Program and the OCA.
The money will be used to rebuild sports facilities and purchase sports equipment.
To help the POC oversee the implementation of the project is IOC representative to the Philippine Mikee Cojuangco Jaworski.
“That is why it was such a privilege for us to host this event,” said the POC chief.
Vice President Jejomar Binay delivered the keynote address before more than a hundred delegates. He stayed on for more than an hour and was a big hit among sports officials from the different countries who extended personal greetings and had pictures taken with him.
In his short speech, Binay, chairman of the Philippine Badmindon Association, stressed the importance of sports and urged the delegates to help each other. He also thanked all OCA and IOC members who attended the two-day event.
While the OCA shouldered the bulk of the expenses for the general assembly, including airfare and hotel accommodations of the delegates, the Philippines put its best foot forward.