During the Pre-colonial period in the mountainous regions of the Cordillera, there exists a symbol that represents a man’s valor, strength, supremacy, and victory. Any mandirigma with this symbol is feared, honored, and respected by any other man who crosses paths with him. This symbol is called a batek. Presently, a batek is equivalent to a gold-plated medal that signifies an individual’s dominance over his/her opponents in an event. Recently, the 26th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) commenced in Palembang, Indonesia with the Philippines sending more than 700 delegates to compete in different sports event. Now that the SEA Games is about to reach the finish line, it seems that the Philippines campaign this year is not as strong as most people expected. It seems that the strength of ancient Filipino mandirigmas cannot be matched by the power of the Filipino athletes. But should this poor turnout be blamed to the Filipino athletes? Or should the fingers be pointed to the manner the Philippine Sports is being implemented in the country?
A few weeks ago, the Philippine Dragon Boat Team became famous for winning five gold medals and two silver medals in the International Dragon Boat Federation Championships in Tampa Bay, Florida last August. However, controversies sparked when the PDBF won without any support from the Philippine Sports Commission. Greater sparks flew when PDBF refused the suggestion of PSC to be infused with the Philippine Canoe-Kayak Federation because the two are different sports. This instigated an investigation in the Upper House. But it seems it led to no results not solving the issue at hand. The legislators might have forgotten that investigations are made in aid of legislation. And yet, up till present time, no bills or laws were passed regarding the issue. Today, PDBF is still not recognized by the PSC. If only PSC recognized PDBF and sent them as the delegates for the canoeing event in the SEA Games instead of PCKF, then the Philippines could have had a greater chance of winning more than one gold medal.
Besides the PDBF-PCKF issue, the Philippines again sent a delegate to the SEA Games with no funding. The thing is this team won the gold medal in the men’s division. This team is the Philippine Baseball Team. It was said that the team received no funding because PSC opted to support other sports that would give a greater chance for the country to win gold medals. And that the team with its great number of participants could only bring home a few medals. Well, this choice backfired PSC because, as it turned out, the sports they supported did not delivered a good number of gold medals like boxing and billiards with three a piece, bowling with only one, and swimming with none.
Another problem that the Philippines encountered in this year’s SEA Games is that it didn’t send any delegates to some sports like volleyball. It was said that that the reason for this decision was the Philippine Women’s Volleyball Tem delivered a very poor performance in the recent Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championships. This was such dismay to many Filipinos who believed that the Women’s Volleyball Team could deliver and be victorious over other South East Asian volleyball teams. Besides, the participants in the AWCVC included volleyball giants like China, Japan, and South Korea. It’s improper to compare the Philippine’s Women’s Volleyball Team with the three, because each have their own strengths and weaknesses.
Over the 44 events in the 26th SEA Games, the Philippines was only able to produce a total of 169 medals (36 gold, 56 silver, and 77 bronze medals); a poor turnout comparing to the Philippines’ campaign in the years, 1987, 1991, and 2005. PSC Chairman Richie Garcia and Philippine Olympic Committee President Peping Cojuangco also expected that the country will be able to haul 70 gold medals that will put the Philippines in the 4th seat. These facts reflect the poor performance of the PSC and POC in the implementation and improvement of Philippine Sports. If there are no shifts in the present paradigm, the Philippines might be left behind by its neighboring countries and the country’s dream of reaching the Olympics and winning a gold medal might be far from happening. This is a call not only to PSC and to POC. The President must recognize the problems the Philippine Sports is presently facing and find ways to solve them. Good decisions are not enough. The authorities must create the best judgments in improving Philippine Sports. If this does not happen, PSC and POC will continue to be the hurdles that would trouble and hinder Philippine Sports from reaching its maximum potential.
Tordesillas, E. (2011 August 8). Philippine Dragon Boat Team Win 5 Gold, 2 Silver Medals in International Dragon Boat Federation World Championships. Retrieved on November 21, 2011 from http://showbiznest.blogspot.com/2011/08/philippine-dragon-boat-team-win-5-gold.html.
Manotoc, T. (2011 November 20). SEA Games: PH wins gold in men’s baseball. Retrieved on November 21, 2011 from http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/sports/11/20/11/sea-games-ph-wins-gold-mens-baseball.
Luarca, R. (2011 November 10). 26th SEA Games kicks off Friday. Retrieved on November 21, 2011 from http://sports.inquirer.net/24007/26th-sea-games-kicks-off-friday.