Monday, September 09, 2013

Fair Play: The last of the lean-and-mean PH teams in the SEA Games

(This is my column for the Sept. 9 edition of Sun.Star Cebu)
SAVE for 2005, when we hosted the Southeast Asian Games, we've always sent a lean and (relatively) mean delegation to the biennial meet and we are going to do so again this year.

This year's Team Philippines is 162-strong as of now, and could balloon to 248 if those who are still battling for spots in the delegation make it.

“Whether intentionally or otherwise, this number represents what the POC had in mind when the (SEAG) task force came into being,” POC official Tom Carrasco said.

Of course it was intentional, since December 2012, the POC and PSC have been battling for a lean delegation to send a message of disapproval at the farcical way Myanmar, this year's host, is conducting the games.

It seems, the SEA Games has lost its prestige that nobody wants to host it and as incentive to the poor sucker willing to spend money on the games, the rest of Southeast Asia have turned a blind eye and given the host power to add almost everything and remove almost everything in the calendar.

The 2013 PHL delegation's started in 2012 when Myanmar dropped Olympic events like lawn tennnis, fencing, gymnastics and bowling, and removed 16 events--including the triple jump and 1,5000m freestyle in athletics and swimming. Myanmar also added its tradtional sports--kempo, tarung derajat, voviname and chinlone--which stakes 50 gold medals.

It is wholesale cheating in the SEA Games and the Philippines' complaint has turned on deaf ears.

How farcical is Myanmar's conduct of this year's Games? It would be like the
Philippines dropping four Olympic sports and adding 50 gold medals for events like tong-its, chinese garter, syatong, tumba lata and what-have-you.

I agree with the Philippines protest but I don't like the way the POC and PSC are sending their message and that's why I hope this year's team would be the last time we resort to sending a lean and mean delegation, for two reasons.

This year, of course, isn't the first time the words "lean and mean" were used to describe the Philippine team and back then it wasn't the hosts' conduct that forced us to do so but the lack of funds.

We don't have money to send everybody, the PSC always says.

And, just like the rest of the country, we all learned that's not true and I've got two words to prove that it isn't.

Janette Napoles.

If the government can allocate P30 million to 99 security packs for barangay tanods then surely there's enough in the P25 billion kitty for the national team's participation in the SEA Games? Just one percent of the of the total kitty is P250 million and that should be enough for the SEA Games team.

Besides, we have Mark Sambar, the party list representative of the Partido ng Bayaning Atleta, and this lawmaker should be made to spend all of his PDAF (oh, please, don’t tell me you buy that crap there’s no more pork barrel) on all the national teams instead of constructing roads, P5 million deep wells, medical assistance or multi-purpose buildings.

We have the money.

As for the second reason?

It’s simple, the next time a SEA Games host does it like Myanmar we simply don’t send a delegation.

Save ourselves the trouble and do what we should have done for this year’s edition.
Boycott the darn SEA Games.

And that’s the only way to send a message.

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