A source said Vargas is ready to fight fire with fire and detonate bombs of his own after receiving a letter signed by seven members of the 15-strong POC Executive Board demanding a written reply within five days from notice.
Fireworks in POC assembly today
Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - May 27, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Fireworks are expected in the POC General Assembly at Max’s Restaurant on Capitol Drive, Pasig, this morning as POC president Ricky Vargas will take a firm stand against NSA heads who are rallying support from the ranks to question his leadership on the basis of issues related to the creation of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC).

A source said Vargas is ready to fight fire with fire and detonate bombs of his own after receiving a letter signed by seven members of the 15-strong POC Executive Board demanding a written reply within five days from notice. The demand was transmitted through a resolution incorporated in the minutes of a special meeting of the POC Executive Board at the GSIS Finance Center Building, Pasay City, held last April 30. Vargas said he never called for the POC Executive Board meeting and described it as “unauthorized.” The meeting was attended by former POC president Jose Cojuangco, Jr., Jonne Go, Joey Romasanta, Tony Tamayo, Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski, POC treasurer Julian Camacho and Clint Aranas with Charlie Ho as acting secretary.

Last Saturday, another “unauthorized” meeting was held at the Makati Sports Club to discuss issues that will be raised before the POC General Assembly today. Several NSA heads attended the meeting that was convened by Ho, netball NSA president. 

In the minutes of the April 30 meeting, it was pointed out that the intent is not to remove or oust Vargas as POC president. But the demand was for Vargas to address “serious concerns” regarding PHISGOC. The concerns include vesting in PHISGOC the authority to prepare for and organize the coming SEA Games, the broadcasting rights of the SEA Games, the incorporation of PHISGOC, compensation of PHISGOC officials and employees, designation of bank signatories to POC accounts, the propriety of the Asics contract to provide uniforms for the national athletes in the SEA Games and the utilization of private sponsorship funds by PHISGOC. Additionally, Vargas was told to withdraw the appointment of Karen Caballero, sepak takraw NSA president, as POC deputy secretary-general and ban her appointment to other POC positions.

“Mr. Vargas has been ominously quiet the last few weeks,” said a source close to the POC president. “He’s been exasperated by the back-stabbing, politics and intrigue. There is no basis to question the creation of PHISGOC as it was even during the previous POC administration that it was established. President Duterte issued Memorandum Circular No. 56 enjoining all government agencies to support PHISGOC. When the Philippines hosted the 1991 SEA Games, an organizing committee under Peter Garrucho was formed and in 2005, a similar committee was created under Roberto Pagdanganan. Both Mr. Garrucho and Mr. Pagdanganan were not POC officials. The organization of the SEA Games, Asian Games and even the Olympics has time and again been entrusted to an organizing committee outside of the Olympic committee.

“The POC, with Mr. Vargas and chairman Rep. Bambol Tolentino, has committed itself to the welfare and support of the Filipino athlete. From their assumption into office, they’ve emphasized that giving the athlete every opportunity to better themselves in the competition arena and out of it, is essential. And as shown by the many successes our national athletes have attained in the past months, they have felt inspiration, motivation and initiative emanating from the top of the POC leadership. Over the past few months, we’ve celebrated the positive achievements of our athletes in gymnastics, judo, boxing, athletics, cycling, bowling, rugby, tennis, skateboarding, squash, ice hockey, karate, ice skating, basketball and many more.”

The source said Vargas will answer, point by point, the issues raised by certain quarters within the POC Executive Board. One issue is the question of the alleged overpricing the Asics uniform contract. It’s not widely known that Asics has committed to sponsor P55 million worth of athletic supplies to the Philippine delegation with a donation of 1,350 sets of jackets, jogging pants, shirts, running shoes, caps, backpacks, socks and more. Beyond the 1,350 sets, an order was placed for 704 more, this time to be paid by PSC. Each set is customized for the Philippine delegation upholding Asics’ high quality standards.

“Believe it or not, the Executive Board wants Mr. Vargas to succeed but they are wary that they will be held accountable if government funds will not be subjected to COA rules,” said squash NSA president Bob Bachmann. “If this happens, it will destroy the POC. We cannot allow this to happen. Mr. Vargas will need to respond to the questions raised one way or another.”

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