With the call for his resignation getting louder every day, is it time for Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco to exit?
Cojuangco, a former Tarlac congressman, first assumed the position in 2005 and has since become the longest-sitting sports leader.
Some of the reasons why there has been a call for the POC president to step down include the disappointing medal performance at the recent Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, the failure of the POC to liquidate government funds; along with the POC, under his leadership, neglecting how national sports associations manage their respective programs.
Conversing with Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Commissioner Ramon Fernandez and former PSC Chairman, Dr. Perry Mequi, they both expressed a desire for Cojuangco’s resignation, however, they also believe he is not willing to step down.
Mequi, who is currently based in Dumaguete City, noted, even if the POC chief were confined to the ICU of a hospital and near death, he still would not resign from the post.
“Only the POC General Assembly can boot him out,” he explained. “We are asking President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, through channels, to request his resignation when [Cojuangco] visits the Palace with the athletes, who are expected to receive their cash awards from the president – [it’s] a miracle we devoutly pray for.”
Both officials also made it very apparent that coaches and athletes face a daunting environment if Cojuangco remains at the helm.
“They will suffer if we don’t do anything to improve their plight under Peping’s rule,” Mequi added.
With the Philippines set to host the SEA Games in 2019, as well as preparing to participate in the Asian Games next year in Jakarta, Indonesia, how do we expect better performances from our athletes?
The Philippines had their best Asian Games showing in 1954, when Manila played host, finishing second place behind Japan in the medal count. It was the same outcome in the following games, four years later in Tokyo, Japan.
The country would later deliver its worst performance at the last games, in 2014 in Incheon, South Korea, where the country finished in 22nd place.
Not unless those in the POC have experienced what it is like to be an athlete, and underwent the hardships that come with devoting oneself to a sport, they will never understand sports. They will not understand what athletes need, nor are they aware of the kind of sacrifices coaches and trainers make. It is these types of deficiencies that result in these self-proclaimed sportsmen unable to deliver quality sports programs./WDJ