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P50K for lucky winner

We raised P120,000 for our annual Philippine Star sports Christmas Contest and we’re giving away P50,000 to first prize winner Jose Monje Quadra, Jr. 49, a seaman from 58 San Matias, Guagua, Pampanga, P20,000 to second prize winner Joe Louis Lahom, 25, a general accounting associate from Guadalupe Nuevo, Makati City, P10,000 to third prize winner Arnold Liwanag, 39, production manager of Vibelle Manufacturing from Las Palmas Subdivision, Sta. Maria, Bulacan and P2,000 each to our other 17 winners. The balance of P6,000 will be used to cover expenses and whatever is left, distributed to the staff that coordinated the contest.

The cash donors were the Philippine Sports Commission through chairman Butch Ramirez with P50,000, Kia Picanto through PBA governor Bobby Rosales with P20,000, NLEX through PBA governor Rod Franco with P20,000, The Herma Group through CEO Hermie Esguerra with P15,000, GlobalPort through PBA governor Erick Arejola with P10,000 and the Games and Amusements Board through chairman Baham Mitra with P5,000.

To add to our prizes, we received late donations from Meralco (20 umbrellas, 10 water bottles, 10 pouch bags), Under Armour (8 shirts, shorts, singlets, leggings), NLEX (20 books of “Legends and Heroes of Philippine Basketball” by Christian Bocobo and Beth Celis), Purefoods (under process) and Phoenix Petroleum (under process).

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Donations were earlier received from Peak, Rain Or Shine, Philippine Tennis Academy, Philippine Paralympic Committee, Gatorade, ALA Boxing Gym, Planet Sports, The Philippine Star, Sonak Corp., Nike Philippines, Green Bulb Public Relations for Adidas, Samahang Basketbol Ng Pilipinas, Philippine Basketball Association, San Miguel Corp., Larc and Asset, San Miguel Beer, Barangay Ginebra, Chooks To Go, Alaska, PLDT, Metro Pacific, Meralco, Ever Bilena/Blackwater, The Herma Group, GAB, GlobalPort and Kia.

Quadra’s essay on what ails Philippine sports and how to solve the problem is as follows: “These are the main reasons why Philippine sports can’t seem to progress – 1. Low priority of the government in sports and athletic development due to insufficient funding, 2. Lack of world-class training centers, 3. Sports leaders whose leadership leaves a lot to be desired. I believe that we just need to be efficient in using funds given by the government and the private sector, like identifying sports where we excel, choosing well-deserved athletes and sending them to world-class tournaments to gain experience and boost their confidence. We also need to build cost-effective but world-class training centers to further improve our athletes’ performance and finally, for some of our sports leaders to step down and let the young and vibrant ones take over.”

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This is the essay of second prize winner Lahom: “Dissension among interested parties at the athletes’ expense, below par infrastructure and sports system with poor grassroots development strategies, politics in which commendable sports undertakings are being compromised and exemplary athletes are being ruled out in favor of the less consummate ones, government’s modest budget for sports formation and development being a non-priority and a dearth of an effective and efficient administration concerning various sports governing bodies are the preponderant justification of the retrogression of Philippine sports.

“It is genuinely perturbing that the Philippines has the resources, pools of talent and strong economic growth the country can brag to the world yet the nation of 100 million people has been trendily falling behind some of its neighbors in terms of medal rankings or total medals secured in the Olympics, SEA Games and other major Asian sports contests.

“The Philippines can only achieve its dreams of attaining the elusive Olympic gold medal and being an Asian powerhouse in sports by strengthening the footing of sports development from grassroots to the elite level through government’s establishment of a department notably for sports, increasing government’s budget allocation for sports and fast-tracking the construction of various sports training centers across the country, expanding public and private partnership initiatives to foster talented athletes and spur the country’s growth in the sports sector and having a systematic and effectual governance of sports authorities with leaders who are passionate, accountable and united.”

 Third prize winner Liwanag’s essay: “Lack of unity and too much politics among the sports agencies put the athletes in the middle of conflicts where they are deprived of financial and moral support. Love of country should prevail over personal interests to empower and motivate the athletes who time and again, prove that the Filipino is at par with the world in spite of these challenges. What we need are capable and accountable leaders who will make sports a priority through building of modern facilities and implementation of effective development programs from the grassroots to the world stage.”

Congratulations to all 20 winners (complete list in yesterday’s column). Awarding of prizes will be at 11 a.m., tomorrow, Thursday, Dec. 21, at The Philippine Star office in Port Area.

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