Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Gibo believes there's hope for RP sports

The Philippine Star
Updated January 13, 2010 12:00 AM

Original Story: http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=540354&publicationSubCategoryId=69

MANILA, Philippines - He looked a little reluctant taking his seat and facing the sports media.

“Unfortunately, I haven’t brushed up on sports,” said Presidential candidate Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro, the guest of honor in yesterday’s unveiling of the newly renovated sports facilities at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.

For a while, it seemed that the former defense secretary was not “brushed up” on sports. But it took one simple question for him to get going, and prove that yes, he knows Philippine sports too well, much better than expected.

“What’s your plan for sports?” was the question, of course
granting that he wins in May and becomes the country’s next President.

“Well, you can have all the visions in the world, but I realize that there’s one thing: Where do you get the money to finance that vision?” was his straight answer, starting off a 30-minute chat at the packed PSC media center.

He said there’s more to sports as part of nation-building, and offered the key to success, one that may finally give the Philippines the much-cherished medal, the gold medal in the Olympics.

“Of course it’s possible but you must look at it carefully. And it must involve the private sector,” he said as his wife Nikki, listened along with Philippine Sports Commission chairman and birthday celebrant Harry Angping.

The chairman’s wife, Manila Representative Naida Angping, Tourism Undersecretary Cynthia Carrion and Tagaytay City Mayor Bambol Tolentino were present, too, as Teodoro touched on Philippine sports.

“How do you make the judgment call in financing certain things (like a sports program) that when you go to Mindanao, and the kids can’t even go to school and can’t even eat. You can’t prioritize sports. There are other aspects more essential.”

He said it’s impossible to juggle the national budget just for the sake of sports.

“The Department of Defense is also operating on the most limited budget possible, as well as health or tourism. All our departments are underspending because of the fact that government revenues are limited. You cannot take from the right pocket just to put in the left pocket. We cannot sacrifice education and social welfare for that,” he said.

It’s the private sector, and not the government, that should help sports if the country should achieve its goal in the international arena.

“If we can find the adequate resources to support our athletes and if we can find some amount for that on a sustainable basis, then that’s going to be a reality. There’s an entity that can do it -- the private sector. They can very well leverage right now, including the future of amateur and professional sports into their corporate processes,” said Teodoro.

He admitted that for a country like the Philippines, it’s very expensive to support an athlete, and “until we can find sufficient funds then all your plans are just dreams.”

“It’s easy to say I can prioritize sports but where will I get the money? I’m being as honest as possible.”

But for these potential sponsors to come in, you must sell sports in such a way that there’s the chance of winning.

“You market sports like a presidential candidate. You need to create the demand,” said 45-year-old Teodoro, who in the earlier days dipped his hands into soccer, swimming and pelota then practical shooting, taekwondo and golf.

“Now I should be exercising more. I should be running more,” said the presidential bet, a nephew of Ambassador Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco and Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco.

He knows of the rift between Angping and his uncle, the POC chief, and could only wish that they set their differences aside for the sake of sports.

“I’ve worked with Harry and Naida (the Angpings) more than I’ve worked with my uncle. I just hope they resolve their differences. I’m not in a position to judge because I do not know the root of the problem. The first plan for sports is for them to get a plan. They have to agree on a plan because I cannot dictate on them. Then they work on that and the funds might come in.”

Again, back to the Olympics, the 2012 London Olympics, Teodoro said there’s always hope.

“To win the Olympic gold it takes a lot of money and a lot of financing. Yes, it’s possible,” he said.

With a ray of hope, Teodoro thinks it can be done. – Abac Cordero

Original Story: http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=540354&publicationSubCategoryId=69

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