Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino’s “Performance Team” for the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) elections in November convened under a cheerful atmosphere over lunch Saturday sans any tinge of political strategizing.
Tolentino, the incumbent POC president, said the team prides itself as being a group composed of accomplished, achievement-oriented and visionary individuals.
“The team aims to foster unity, pride and excellence in the POC,” said Tolentino over lunch at the Shang Palace of the Makati Shangrila which former president Ricky Vargas also graced.
Tolentino pledged to wage a high-level campaign that will do away with mud-slinging, character assassination and black propaganda which fosters long-term animosity.
“We cannot afford more division in Philippine sports. We have made giant strides since the Asian Games in 2018 and the 30th Southeast Asian Games in 2019,” Tolentino said. “Internal bickering will set us back.”
“Whatever happens in the POC elections, we must get behind our leaders and help in charting a viable course for Philippine sports,” Cavite’s Eighth District congressman said.
The POC elections are set November 27. It will be a face-to-face exercise.
Triathlon’s Tom Carrasco, the candidate for chairman, echoed Tolentino’s call saying they want to focus on what their team has to offer and their vision for a more active, forward-looking and inspiring leadership.
“Let’s focus on what we plan and what we can do for Philippine sports. Let’s not get distracted by personal attacks. What we bring to the table is more important and will impact the future of POC,” Carrasco said.
First Vice President candidate Al Panlilio, president of Smart Communications and Chief Revenue Officer of PLDT, said their team is about inspiration and motivation.
“Our athletes need the inspiration and motivation that a credible leadership can provide. We need to streamline the assistance the POC can provide not only to the national sports associations, but to the athletes themselves,” Panlilio said.
“Look at how inspired and motivated they were in the past two years. Let’s build on that.”
Richard Gomez, although best known as a matinee idol, has distinguished himself not only in the field of politics, but has also shown remarkable achievements with his dalliance in a vast array of disciplines.
Gomez has been a top notch athlete in basketball, golf, volleyball, fencing, rowing, shooting, among others.
“My experience and involvement in various elite sports have given me a deeper insight in what the POC can do to move Philippine sports to a higher level,” the Mayor of the progressive city of Ormoc in Leyte said.
Another national athlete and popular basketball star, Joaquin “Chito” Loyzaga, brings not only his decades of being in the sports limelight, but also his former stint as commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commission.
“That was an eye-opener,” the former burly Ginebra guard and national team member said. “It made me realize that government needs to partner with the private sector, not only the POC, but with business leaders who can generate the much-needed resources to assist in our programs and raise the confidence of our athletes.”
Dr. Jose Raul Canlas has been involved not only as one of the country’s top orthopedic surgeons, but also as an active advocate of the Olympic Movement as member of the FIBA Medical Commission since 1996.
Canlas’s passion for sports in such disciplines as athletics, basketball and especially of surfing—he has been president of the United Philippine Surfing Association for the past foyr years—is widely known. He was awarded an Olympism award by the POC.
Cynthia Carrion has been in the POC for the longest time. She has also made a mark in the movement for Gender Equality not only in the Philippines but internationally as well.
She was given an IOC award in 2009 for her work in Gender Equality.
Carrion is also an undersecretary of the Department of Tourism and also had a stint in the Philippine Sports Commission.
Her gymnastics association qualified the first Filipino athlete to the Tokyo Olympics—Carlos Yulo.