Dean's Corner ( Leaderboard Top ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

Vargas vows to empower NSAs

Ricky Vargas

MANILA, Philippines – PLDT and First Pacific executive Ricky Vargas disclosed yesterday a five-point program, aimed at empowering National Sports Associations (NSAs), he intends to implement if elected POC president in the Nov. 25 polls.

Vargas, 64, filed his certificate of candidacy at the POC office last Monday morning to beat the 12 noon deadline and will challenge incumbent Jose Cojuangco, Jr., 82, who is seeking a fourth consecutive four-year term.

“If we want change, we must be involved,” said Vargas whose grandfather Jorge was the first Filipino to become an IOC member and served as Philippine Amateur Athletic Federation (the POC precursor) from 1936 to 1955. “Change is a commitment to move on and get involved. I am prepared to resign my corporate positions if that’s what it takes to serve as POC president effectively. I’ve spoken with my boss MVP (PLDT chairman Manny V. Pangilinan) and he’s given me the clearance to go ahead with my candidacy. MVP realizes the extent of this commitment. I plan to lay the foundation for the future and serve for only one term to pave the way for others to lead the POC with dynamism and vision.”

Vargas said he will do away with the politics of patronage in the POC. “The POC has become highly politicized,” he said. “I will respect the political exercise of elections but the POC president will not crown the head of an NSA. We will empower NSAs to choose their leaders. My style is I like to dialogue, listen and interact. I want an exchange of ideas because we can all learn from each other.”

In his five-point program, Vargas said his first priority is to empower NSAs to develop athletes and initiate programs. Second, he will provide the groundwork for governance without politics. Third, he will support a nation-wide grassroots program with the PSC. Fourth, he will engage the IOC in seeking assistance for and in behalf of NSAs. And finally, he will involve the private sector in supporting the NSAs.

“I believe in performance and a reward system,” he said. “I don’t believe in favoritism. I will not judge the performance of the previous POC administration. Let the NSAs evaluate how the POC has performed over the last 12 years. As for the NSA which I head, ABAP, it has consistently been the biggest medal producer for the country. At the last Southeast Asian Games, each of our 10 fighters brought home a medal.”

Dean's Corner ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

Vargas said the MVP Sports Foundation has directly assisted at least eight NSAs, including the volleyball organization headed by POC first vice president Joey Romasanta. The implication is if Vargas is elected POC president, the support will be even more widespread.

Philippine Football Federation president Mariano Araneta is one of several NSA heads to throw full support for Vargas’ bid. “With his vast experience in good corporate governance and sports administration, Ricky Vargas will make the POC a respected organization once again and bring in the necessary reforms for Philippine sports to achieve its full potential and give the attention it truly deserves,” he said.

PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa, who is spearheading efforts to cement the partnership of the pro league and the SBP in forming the most competitive national team for future FIBA competitions, also backed Vargas. “We’ve proven that Philippine athletes can compete on the global stage,” he said. “But time and time again, we have failed. It’s time to choose people who can invoke change, good governance and the endless pursuit of sports excellence, morally, physically and mentally. Ricky Vargas not only embodies these traits, he lives it. Who better person can we choose?”

Former Gilas skipper Jimmy Alapag said, “We need to see advancements in our country’s sports programs right now ... it’s been locked in the status quo for too long ... we all know we can do so much better ... if you want our Olympians to compete for a better medal count, they need more support, financial backing and guidance ... it starts with leadership, let’s welcome change ... Ricky Vargas would be a great catalyst ... he has the pedigree, the passion, skill set and vision to empower the development of our athletes so that we can unleash their full potential.”

A plan to disqualify Vargas as a candidate on the basis of failing to personally attend the majority of General Assembly meetings the last two years was described as “manipulative” and “self-serving” by lawyer and former PBA commissioner Chito Salud. “The eligibility rules require active participation in the General Assembly,” he said. “Those who support Mr. Cojuangco interpret active participation to mean physical presence in the General Assembly meetings but it isn’t stipulated in the By-Laws. ABAP’s active participation is evident in attending the meetings and representing the country proudly. Quantity of attendance means less than quality of participation. Let’s give sports a chance. Let the NSAs decide who should lead the POC. How hollow is the victory if only one man is allowed to run unopposed because of an unreasonable interpretation of an eligibility rule.”

Dean's Corner ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
  • Follow Us: