SENATOR Pia Cayetano has threatened the Philippine Sports Commission with a ‘zero budget’ for next year, saying it failed to protect the interest of athletes after a swimmer and a dragon boat team were left out in the delegation bound for the Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar.
Cayetano lashed out at the PSC during Wednesday’s Senate 2014 budget deliberation after learning that swimmer Denjylie Cordero and the Philippine dragon boat team under the auspices of the Philippine Canoe Kayak Federation (PCKF) were not included in the SEA Games lineup.
Because of this, Cayetano said she will defer the decision on PSC’s budget proposal of P182.3 million until an explanation has been given, but warned that a ‘zero budget’ for the government agency is a possibility.
They Said It!
“I want to hear from the PSC. How in the world did personal differences become the basis for not including a swimmer, who has the potential of winning the gold, in the lineup?" - Senator Pia Cayetano
“I am torn between asking the body to defer the budget while I think about a zero budget. In conscience, I have a difficulty recommending a zero budget because at the end of the day, it’s the athletes who will suffer,” said Cayetano.
Cordero, who broke a 10-year UAAP record in September, is from the Philippine Swimming League, a rival group of the Philippine Olympic Committee-recognized Philippine Aquatic Sports Association (PASA).
The dragon boat athletes, meanwhile, were stripped recognition by the PCKF and the PSC after a falling-out with canoe kayak official Jonne Go and national head coach Len Escollante.
“We raise the case of one of the swimmers, Denjylie Cordero, who is multi-awarded and has a very good shot at getting a silver or probably a gold," said Cayetano.
“And yet, she is not in the lineup because of differences between her father and the former president of the swimming association, who is also a former deputy secretary-general of the POC,” said Cayetano, referring to Pasa head Mark Joseph.
“I want to hear from the PSC. How in the world did personal differences become the basis for not including a swimmer, who has the potential of winning the gold, in the lineup?” said Cayetano.
In the case of the dragon boat team, Cayetano said: “They beat world powers in Europe. Umiiyak ‘yung mga kababayan natin because for the first time, bida ang Pilipinas. This is the world championships. And yet in a month’s time, we will not have a Philippine dragon boat team in the Southeast Asian Games.”
Cayetano believed that the PSC should have stepped in, citing Section 11 of the PSC act stating the government agency’s “supervisory and visitorial powers.”
“What do we do with this provision if they will just tell us that they cannot do anything?” Cayetano said.