STRESSING that full government and private sector support is key to the success of our athletes in international competitions, presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. has urged local sports officials and stakeholders to free the sector from politics and other issues that could drag and affect the athletes’ training.
“Dapat ang athlete walang ibang iniisip iyan, kundi mag-ensayo at magpalakas. Magpahinga ng mabuti, kumain ng tama, iyon lang dapat ang kanilang iniisip because that’s the only way to win championships, and the only way to win tournaments is to do that, and to be very professional about (their craft),” he said.
Bongbong vowed to fully support the country’s sports programs once he and his running mate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte are elected in this year’s elections.
The former senator also commended the current crop of Filipino athletes, stressing that it is about time to give them the country’s undivided backing and commitment.
“Panahon na upang bigyan muli sila (mga atleta) ng sapat na malasakit at suporta! Sa inyong pagwagayway ng bandilang Pilipino, kasama niyo kami (ni Inday Sara) mula pagsasanay hanggang sa pagkapanalo,” he stressed.
Bongbong was reacting to the recent controversy rocking Philippine sports after the Philippine Athletic Track and Field Association (PATAFA) decided to remove the country’s top pole vaulter Ernest John ‘EJ’ Obiena from the national team roster.
Obiena who is currently the 3rd best pole vaulter in the world was accused by Patafa of misappropriating his training allowance, even as the athlete has refuted the allegations by presenting necessary documents and having his coach Vitaly Petrov testified on his behalf.
The athlete, however, found an ally with the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) which declared Patafa president Philip Ella Juico persona non grata, for allegedly harassing Obiena, instead of supporting him.
Obviously disappointed with the way local sports is being managed by its officials, Marcos who is running under the banner of Partido Federal ng Pilipinas said it’s about time to free Filipino athletes from politics.
“If we want to move forward we need to fix the system. Kung minsan kasi napupulitika ang sports eh,” said Marcos.
The standard bearer of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) stated that the government’s backing has a significant influence in an athlete’s success, emphasizing that they should be allowed to focus on their training and that they should be shown the country’s full support.
Previously, in his interview with Noli Eala for Power and Play last December 18, he already said that there are officials who politicize sports to the detriment of the athletes.
In his official Facebook account, he also recalled how Project ‘Gintong Alay’ was implemented successfully, resulting in local athletes reaping honors in international meets.
The ‘Gintong Alay’ was a national sports program of the Philippine government launched under the administration of Bongbong’s father, former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, who was also the forerunner of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
“Hindi lingid sa lahat na sportsman at fan ang aking ama ng iba’t ibang patimpalak sa palakasan. Kaya naman isinulong niya ang pagbuo ng iba’t ibang programa na susuporta at tutugon sa pangangailangan ng ating mga atleta, kabilang na dito ang Gintong Alay program,” Marcos said on his FB account.