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Senate body begins probe on what ails Philippine sports

Manny Pacquiao, Jose Cojuangco, William Ramirez

MANILA, Philippines - The Senate committee on sports headed by Sen. Manny Pacquiao will take a closer look at the problems hounding Philippine sports when top officials from the Philippine Olympic Committee and Philippine Sports Commission appear before the committee today.

Pacquiao set the hearing at 10 a.m. and in aid of legislation aims to “resolve the issues hindering the development of Philippine sports.”

Jose Cojuangco, the POC president, and William Ramirez, the PSC chairman, will attend together with representatives of the different national sports associations (NSAs).

The hearing will focus on the failure of some NSAs or the POC in general to liquidate financial support they’ve received from the PSC through the years.

Ramirez said the unliquidated amount may reach as much as P200 million, representing cash advances and support dating back from 1990.

The PSC chairman said he now has “an imprimatur” from President Duterte and directions from the Senate and Congress to stop providing financial support to those with liquidation problems.

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“Hopefully this will ensure that government funds and properly utilized and liquidated in accordance with the government accounting system,” said Pacquiao.

“And that effective and efficient provision of services for our athletes are attained for a wide participation of all sectors, government and private, and strengthen sports formation and development,” the senator added.

Also expected to be tackled during the hearing is the recent POC elections where boxing chief Ricky Vargas was disqualified by the POC election committee and denied a chance to challenge Cojuangco for the post of president.

Ramirez told The STAR that there are NSAs who have yet to liquidate cash advances from P2 million to P5 million.  

“They all have to liquidate or else there will be no funding, including the POC, which has to do a lot of liquidating,” said Ramirez.

“They have documents (liquidation) that were disallowed by the COA that’s why they are now being asked to return the amount. Madaming funding ang PSC sa kanila wherein the liquidation has been disallowed,” he added.

“If they cannot liquidate, we will stop funding them,” Ramirez explained.

Ramirez said that under the previous administration, then President Aquino had wanted the PSC and the POC to focus on 10 Olympic sports where Filipinos have better chances of winning a medal.

“But the PSC kept funding 32 Olympic sports and added to the list were sports that are not even being played in the SEA Games or the Asian Games. The PSC ended up funding 40 to 50 sports. There was not enough funds,” the PSC chief said.

Cojuangco said he’s surprised why the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (Philsoc), which he headed, is still being asked to liquidate P27 million in expenses incurred for the hosting of the 2005 Manila SEA Games.

Cojuangco, who ran unopposed last Friday and won a fourth term as POC president, said he will attend the hearing so he can answer all the questions.

“Pupunta tayo (I will come). Yung hinihingi nila ipapakita natin (We will show them what they’re asking). Again, I have been cleared of the charges and the case against me dismissed by Conchita Carpio-Morales (of the COA),” said Cojuangco.

“After our successful hosting of the 2005 SEA Games I even asked Sycip Gorres Velayo (a leading accounting firm) to audit us (Philsoc). It has been cleared,” he said.

 

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