Dear Tatay Digong

Dear Tatay Digong,

Allow us at the onset to congratulate you for your brilliant win in the last election. Despite the lack of a political machinery, you showed how a well-run campaign can match up against the political juggernauts of the land. A great performance indeed, Tatay Digong, bravo!

For the past six years, your national athletes have been suffering from a debilitating malady. It has caused so much demoralization and its effects have been manifested in the humbling debacles we experienced in the past Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games and Olympic results. To review, here are the results of our past performances in the SEA Games, the Asian Games and the World Olympics:

2005 SEA games (1st) – 113 Golds, 84 Silvers, 94 Bronzes
2007 SEA games (6th) – 41 Gs, 91 Ss, 96 Bs
2009 SEA games (5th) – 38 Gs, 35 Ss, 51 Bs
2011 SEA games (6th) – 36 Gs, 56 Ss, 77 Bs
2013 SEA games (7th)  – 29 Gs, 34 Ss, 37 Bs
2015 SEA games (6th) – 29 Gs, 36 Ss, 66 Bs

2006 Asian games (18th) – 4 Gs, 6 Ss, 9 Bs
2010 Asian games ((17th) – 3 Gs, 4 Ss, 9 Bs
2014 Asian games (22nd) – 1 G, 3 Ss, 11 Bs

2008, 2012 Olympics – 0 medals

For a country with a population of 102 million people, and a GDP per capita of $2,765, to say that we are underachieving is clearly a gross understatement. We have consistently lagged behind significantly less-populated countries as Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia, and the relative newcomer, Vietnam. At one point, we were even overtaken by cash-strapped Myanmar in the medal tallies.

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One doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that something is clearly wrong with the country’s sports direction. Unfortunately, the present leadership of the country’s key sports bodies (the POC and PSC) have not been truthful in assessing the performance of our National Sports Associations (NSAs). They have instead been over-protective of the non-performing NSAs, particularly in the light of this year’s election in the POC.

Your athletes – as well as the millions of countrymen and fans who religiously cheer our teams in the sports arena – would like to seek your help. We hope that you can find a way to finally stop this cycle of tragedies in our international sports forays.

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We hope that you can arrest this growing callous indifference among our athletes, and infuse new ideas to bring Philippine Sports back to its glory days. The potential of our youth is clearly there. Finding it, nurturing it, allowing it to grow with the right environment, giving it inspiration and purpose – there lies the challenge.

We need to have an honest appraisal on the performances of our NSAs. We need to see a more aggressive grassroots development plan, not rely on ‘gold-mining expeditions’ in other countries. There are many native diamonds-in-the-rough that can be discovered, if we only look hard enough. We need to provide support for our athletes, by way of more training incentives here and abroad, better facilities. Most of all, we need new and dynamic leaders who can think out-of-the-box and re-inject new initiatives into our antiquated sports program. Perhaps it is also time to create a Cabinet-level Department that will finally provide focus on sports development, and the fitness and well-being for our people.

Now is the golden chance to make some drastic changes in the Country’s sports program, sir, with you soon to assume the top position of the land.

Sports plays a significant yet under-appreciated role in the development of our country. It develops the attributes of discipline, unity, fair play, professional conduct, sacrifice and other key values that are the bedrock of success in any government, company, community or family. Sports then can help you, Tatay Digong, to promote correct values, provide a clear vision for nation-building and – this being your pet peeve – support our youth in the campaign to avoid drugs.

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We look forward, Sir, to your fair yet firm resolve, even as we pray for your success in your many noble endeavors.

Most Sincerely,

Your athletes

More on our performance in Philippine sports:

Charting the Alarming Trends for the Philippines in the Asian Games

Unmasking the Philippine Sports Mafia

 

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